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OnitJersitp of JSortft Carolina 

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Vol. XVI JANUARY, 1917 No. 3 



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Isaac Shelby 


From his most famous portrait, never before reproduced, owned by 
William R. Shelby, Esq., of Grand Rapids, Michigan 

The North Carolina Booklet 

Vol. XVI JANUARY, 1917 No. 3 

Isaac Shelby 
Revolutionary Patriot and Border Hero 

By Archibald Henderson. 

Among that group of early pioneers whose intrepid daring 
and superior sagacity, tested in the crucible of border warfare 
and frontier conflict, were potent agencies in laying the foun- 
dation stones of the republic, Isaac Shelby occupies a position 
of conspicuous leadership in both martial and civil life. De- 
ficient in the vision of a Richard Henderson or the craft of a 
Daniel Boone, Shelby possessed much of the glorified common 
sense which distinguished James Robertson. Temperamen- 
tally more phlegmatic than his comrade in arms, the impetu- 
ous John Sevier, he exhibited in the crucial moments of his 
career a headlong bravery and an unwavering self-control 
which marked him as a trustworthy leader of men. In per- 
sonal bravery the match for his friend, George Rogers Clark, 
Shelby was a born fighter ; and although not endowed with 
the tactical brilliance of the conqueror of the Northwest, he 
exhibited such unerring judgment in battle and such poise in 
leadership as to inspire the confident faith which procures 
ultimate victory. His contribution to the cause of American 
independence is an integral part of the history of the Revolu- 
tion. This chapter which to this very day, in any adequate 
sense, remains unwritten, the present monograph purposes to 

It was from a line of Welsh ancestors that Isaac Shelby 
derived the phlegmatic temperament and cautious balance 
which stood him in such good stead throughout his eventful 
and turbulent career. His father, Evan Shelby, was born in 
Wales in 1720 ; and with his father and mother, Evan and 
Catherine Shelby, he emigrated to Maryland about 1735. The 


family settled in the neighborhood of Hagerstown, near the 
North Mountain, then Frederick County. Strength of charac- 
ter and an iron constitution, reinforced by the qualities of 
tenacity and approved courage, express the dominant charac- 
teristics of this famous border character, Evan Shelby, Isaac's 
father. In the French and Indian wars which began in 1754, 
he served with distinction, first it is presumed, as a private 
soldier; but in 1756 his recognized skill as a hunter and 
woodsman, acquired in patrolling the border and guarding 
the frontier, as well as his bravery, led to his appointment as 
Lieutenant of Maryland troops. It is related that on Forbes' 
campaign, "he gave chase to an Indian spy, in view of many 
of the troops, overtaking and tomahawking him." 1 The fol- 
lowing letter is like a ray of light flashed into the dim ob- 
scurity of the mid-period of the eighteenth century. It is a 
letter of Governor Sharpe, of Maryland, to General Forbes : 2 

1st of August, 1758. 
To General Forbes: 

Sir : — This serves to introduce to you Capt. Shelby, who waits on 
your Excellency with his company of volunteers to receive your com- 
mands. He has served as a Lieut, more than two years in the Mary- 
land troops & has always behaved well, which encourages me to hope 
that he and his company will be found useful on the present occasion. 
The expense I have been at in furnishing his men with blankets, leg- 
gins, moccasins & camp kettles is £82-3-2 pens currency, & as Capt. 
Shelby & his lieut., who was likewise an officer in our Troops until 
the end of May last, found themselves under some Difficulties by not 
being paid the arrears that were due them, I have let each of them 
have £15 out of the £510 currency, which, with Your Excellency's ap- 
probation, Mr. Kilby is to advance towards paying the Maryland 
Forces. I most sincei'ely wish Your Excellency the perfect Recovery 
of Your Health & a successful Campaign, & I am &c. 

Serving as Captain of Maryland troops, in the provincial 
army destined for the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Evan 
Shelby was engaged in a number of severe battles in the 
course of Braddock's war. In 1758, in pursuance of Governor 
Sharpe's orders, he reconnoitred and marked out the route 

iDraper's King's Mountain and Its Heroes, 411. 
SMaryland Calendar State Papers, ii, 1757-61, 237. 


of a road to Fort Cumberland; and following his report to 
the Governor that "three hundred and fifty men might open 
such a road as he proposed in three weeks," as it was not 
more than sixty miles in length, the road was laid out by him 
with the assistance of the desired quota of men, by order of 
Governor Sharpe. 3 As a soldier he was conspicuous for gal- 
lantry in the battle fought at Loyal Hanning (now Bedford), 
Pennsylvania; and he led the advance guard of General 
Forbes, when he took possession of Fort DuQuesne in 1758. 
Early in the 'sixties, it is reasonable to suppose, he removed 
with his family to Pennsylvania — perhaps as the result of un- 
certainty in land titles in consequence of the dispute over 
territory between Maryland and Pennsylvania. For some 
years thereafter he engaged in trade with the Indians of the 
Northwest. During the conferences with the Indians, held in 
connection with the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, lasting from 
October 24 until November 6, 1768, an extensive grant of 
land was made by the Six Nations of Indians to twenty-three 
Indian traders, most of them from Pennsylvania, to recom- 
pense them for very large losses incurred during the war of 
1763. In the list of the twenty-three names is found that of 
Evan Shelby, along with such other well known names as 
William Trent, David Franks, John Baynton, Samuel Whar- 
ton, and George Morgan. This grant included all that part 
of the present state of West Virginia lying between the Ohio, 
the Little Kanawha, and the Monongahela rivers, the Laurel 
Ridge, and the South line of Pennsylvania extended to the 
Ohio. Trent and Wharton, two of the traders, went to Eng- 
land, to endeavor to obtain a confirmation of the grant, which 
was named Indiana by those who wished to erect it into a 
colony; but while there they were induced to throw in their 
interests with Thomas Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, and 
others, in securing the grant of Vandalia, which included the 

3Cf . Sharpe to Capt. Evan Shelby, June 15, 1758 ; Maryland Calen- 
dar State Papers. Letter Book III, 206; Sharpe to Calvert, Letter 
Book I, 358-9. For Capt. Evan Shelby's report from Frederick, June 
25, 1758, cf. also Maryland Calendar State Papers, Letter Book III, 


grants to the Ohio Company and to William Trent and his 
associates, and extended to the mouth of Scioto. Although 
the draft of the royal grant had actually been prepared in 
the spring of 1775, it ultimately failed of confirmation by 
the Crown. 4 
\i During the third quarter of the eighteenth century, ranches, 
or "cow-pens" were established at many places in the Pied- 
mont region of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Caro- 
lina. The more adventurous farmers, taking advantage of 
the fertile pastures of the uplands, pressed far beyond the 
ordinary farmer's frontier, and herded in large flocks of cat- 
tle and stock. Many of these were wandering wild upon the 
country; as a contemporary observer says, "notwithstanding 
every precaution, very great numbers of black cattle, horses 
and hogs — run at large, entirely wild, without any other pro- 
prietors than those of the ground they happened to be found 
upon." 5 In 1771, according to the best authorities, Isaac 
Shelby, the son of Evan Shelby, was residing in Western Vir- 
ginia, living the life of the rancher, and engaged in the bus- 
iness of feeding and attending to the herds of cattle over the 
extensive ranges of the uplands. 6 And in this same year, as 
Draper states, the Shelby connection removed to the Holston 
country, in that twilight zone of the debatable ground between 
North Carolina and Virginia. 7 Evan Shelby settled on the 
site of the present Bristol, Tennessee ; and in conjunction 
with his friend, Isaac Baker, purchased the Sapling Grove 
tract, of 1946 acres, Robert Preston dividing it equally be- 
tween them. 

±Plain Facts, Philadelphia, 1781. New Governments West of the 
Alleghanies Before 1780, by G. H. Alden, Madison, Wis., 1897. Ci. 
also, Hanna's The Wilderness Trail, ii, 59-60. 

5 J. F. D. Smyth: A Tour in the United States of America, ii. 143-4. 

6L. C. Draper : Kings Mountain and Its Heroes, 411. 

7 Summers, in his Southwest Virginia, 1903, 671-2, states that "in 
the year 1765 or shortly thereafter, Evan Shelby and Isaac Baker left 
their homes in Maryland and came to the Holston country." The 
facts, as stated above, would indicate that the date, 1765, is incorrect, 
with reference to the migration to the Holston country of Evan 
Shelby, at least. It may be that Isaac Baker preceded Evan Shelby 
to the Holston country, and induced him to remove thither. 



Isaac Shelby was born near the North Mountain, in the 
vicinity of Hagerstown, Maryland, on December 11, 1750, 
being the eldest son of Evan Shelby and his first wife, Letitia 
Scott, of Frederickstown, Maryland. The intimacy between 
Evan Shelby and his friend Isaac Baker is shown by the fact 
that Shelby named one of his sons Isaac and Baker named 
one of his sons Evan. Endowed, like his father, with an iron 
constitution, and reared in a martial atmosphere, Isaac early 
adapted himself to the strenuous life of the pioneer and be- 
came expert in the arts of hunting and woodcraft. Even be- 
fore he reached man's estate he served as Deputy Sheriff of 
Frederick County, Maryland — a tribute to his self-control 
and personal prowess. 8 

Despite the fact that the country was continually harrassed 
with a succession of Indian wars, young Isaac nevertheless 
succeeded in obtaining the rudiments of a plain English edu- 
cation. After the removal of the Shelbys to Kings Meadows 
(near Bristol), Evan Shelby and his four sons, Isaac, Evan, 
Moses, and James, continued to herd and graze cattle on an 
extensive scale along the Virginia border, about forty miles 
north of Watauga. 9 

An authentic account of the career of Evan Shelby and his 
services to the cause of American independence would con- 
stitute an extended chapter in the history of Indian battles 
and border warfare. As indicative of the high estimation in 
which he was held in his former home, one may cite the fol- 
lowing fragment of a letter to Captain Evan Shelby from 
General William Thompson, bearing the address, "Carlyle, 
6th July, 1775." 

"Had General Washington been sure you could have joined 
the army at Boston without first seeing your family (you) 
would have been appointed Lieut. Colo, (of the) Rifle Battal- 
ion and an express sent by you being so the 

8This statement is made on the authority of Cecil B. Hartley, in 
his sketch of Isaac Shelby, published in 1860, along with The Life and 
Adventures of Louis Wetzel. 

9James R. Gilmore : The Rear Guard of the Revolution, 1903, 64. 


general concluded it (would not be — ) for you to take the 
field before seeing your family. I leave for Boston on Mon- 
day night." 

Upon his Sapling Grove plantation Evan Shelby built a 
fort named Shelby's Station, where hundreds were sometimes 
forted during the Revolution. At this fort the Shelbys 
kept a store, which supplied the pioneers with ammunition, 
dress stuffs, articles of food and drink. Daniel Boone pur- 
chased supplies here in preparation for his ill-timed and ill- 
fated expedition in 1773. The stout old Welshman, stern 
though he may have been, was evidently not averse to con- 
viviality; on an old ledger, dated Staunton, Va., Nov. 22, 
1773, conspicuous in the account against Evan Shelby are 
such entries as: "1 Bowl tody," "1 Mug cider," "1 Bowl 
Bumbo," "To Club in Wine." His first wife, Letitia Cox, 
died in 1777, and is buried at Charlottesville, Va. Late in 
life he was married to Isabella Elliott; and the records show 
that this prudent lady required one-third of his estate to be 
deeded to her before marriage. In 1794 Evan Shelby died, 
at the age of 74, and his widow afterwards was married again 
to one Dromgoole. His remains now repose in Bristol, Tenn.,' 
on the lot now occupied by the Lutheran Church, on the corner 
of Fifth and Shelby streets. 11 

It was not long after the settlement of the Shelbys at Sap- 
ling Grove that they formed the acquaintance of such leading 
men of the border as James Robertson, John Sevier, Daniel 
Boone, and William Russell. A little incident indicative of 
the experience of even the most expert pioneers of the day at 
the hands of the treacherous and furtive red men is recorded 
in that valuable repository of historical lore, Bradford's Notes 
on, Kentucky. "In 1772," records Isaac Shelby in one of 
these notes, although we know from other sources that he 
should have said 1771, "I met Daniel Boone below the Hol- 
stein settlement, alone ; he informed me that he had spent 
the two years preceding that time in a hunt on Louisa river 

iiCf. Oliver Taylor : Historic Sullivan, 1909. Also L. P. Summers : 
Southwest Virginia, 1903. 


(now Kentucky), so called by all the Long Hunters; that he 
had been robbed the day before, by the Cherokee Indians, of 
all the proceeds of his hunt." 

It was at the instance of the Shelbys that Sevier moved to 
the Holston settlements. In 1772 John Sevier attended a 
horse race at the Watauga Old Field, and witnessed the theft 
of a horse by a burly fellow named Shoate. Sevier was about 
to leave, disgusted by the incident — for the thief pretended 
that he had won the stolen horse as the result of a wager — 
when Evan Shelby remarked to him : "Never mind the rascals ; 
they'll soon poplar" — by which he meant, take a canoe and 
get out of the country. One of the first measures taken by the 
Watauga settlements was the passage of laws to protect them 
from horse thieves. The following year the Seviers removed 
to Keywood, about six miles from the Shelbys, later settling 
in Washington County. 12 

It was not long before Isaac Shelby, young though he was, 
came to be regarded as a man of promise in the frontier set- 
tlement. In 1771 he was appointed Lieutenant in the militia 
by Colonel William Preston, the County Lieutenant of Fin- 
castle County. The anecdote is related that, when Isaac 
thoughtlessly sat down instead of remaining at attention 
while his commission was being written out by Col. Preston, 
his father, with characteristically imperious manner, sternly 
admonished him : 

"Get up, you young dog, and make your obeisance to the 

Whereupon the young officer, considerably abashed, arose 
and made the amende honorable to his superior officer. In 
time to come the graceless "young dog" was to prove himself, 
as soldier and statesman, the superior of his bull-dog father, 
the grizzled veteran and Indian fighter. 

Endowed, like his father, with an herculean frame, though 
built on a somewhat larger scale, he presents a formidable 
and impressive appearance in the portraits that have come 

i 2 Draper Mss. ; also cf. F. M. Turner : Life of General John Sevier, 


down to us — with firm, compressed lips, heavy chin, massive 
features, beetling brows over fixed, deep-set eyes — a man of 
"uncommon intelligence and stern, unbending integrity." 


Daniel Boone's attempt, without shadow of title, to make a 
settlement in Kentucky, in September, 1773, had met with a 
bloody repulse on the part of the Indians. In a letter to 
Dartmouth, Dunmore said in regard to the "Americans," the 
pioneer settlers: "They acquire no attachment to place: But 
wandering about Seems engrafted in their Nature ; and it is 
a weakness incident to it that they Should for ever Imagine 
the Lands further off, are Still better than those upon which 
they are already Settled." 13 The continued encroachments of 
the white settlers upon the Indian hunting grounds fanned to 
flame the smouldering animosity of the red man. The Six 
Nations, at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, had sold to 
the Crown, through Sir William Johnson, their unwarranted 
claim to a vast stretch of territory extending as far to the 
southward as the Kentucky River. The Southern Indians, 
the aboriginal occupants of the soil, indignantly denied the 
right of the Six Nations to this Territory. The Indians along 
the border were aroused to a pitch of excessive hostility by the 
continued incursions of the whites. A succession of attacks 
by the Indians upon outlying and scattered settlements soon 
led to bloody reprisals on the part of the whites. The open 
letter of Conolly, Governor Dunmore's agent, calling upon 
the backwoodsmen to prepare to defend themselves from the 
attacks of the Shawnees, was issued on April 21, 1771, and 
the barbarous murder of Logan's family at the mouth of Yel- 
low Creek on April 30, by one Greathouse and a score of 
carousing white companions, rendered the conflict inevitable. 
Yet actual hostilities were slow to commence, and it was not 
until the summer of 1771 that Daniel Boone and Michael 
Stoner were dispatched by Dunmore to Kentucky, to conduct 

i3Draper Mss., 15J4-4S. 


into the settlements the various parties of surveyors scattered 
about through the Kentucky area. The war was now begun, 
and Lord Dunmore, hoping to reconcile the differences be- 
tween the colonists and England by a successful campaign 
against the Indians, proceeded vigorously to carry the war 
into the enemy's country. 

There were two divisions in Lord Dunmore' s army, one of 
fully twelve hundred men under the command of the earl in 
person, the other of about eleven hundred strong, under the 
command of General Andrew Lewis, a stalwart backwoods 
fighter. For some inexplicable motive, which has been sus- 
pected, no doubt, erroneously, as an attempt at treachery to 
the Americans, Dunmore decided not to unite his force with 
that of Lewis ; and after a long march he took up his position 
at the mouth of the Hockhocking, erected a stockade styled 
Fort Gower, and awaited news of Lewis's brigade. The divis- 
ion of Lewis reached the mouth of the Great Kanawha River 
on October 6 and encamped at Point Pleasant. On the ninth 
the order came to Lewis from Dunmore to join him at the 
, Indian towns near the Pickaway Plains. The sagacious 
Cornstalk, the Indian leader, divining the plan of the whites, 
resolved to hurl his entire force of one thousand warriors upon 
the sleeping army at Point Pleasant. 

Of the several commands under Lewis one was composed of 
the Fincastle men, from the Holston, Clinch, Watauga, and 
New River settlements, under Col. William Christian. The 
Holston men were the advance guard of civilization at this 
period, the most daring settlers who had pushed farthest out 
into the western wilderness. In Col. Christian's command 
were five captains, Evan Shelby, Russell, Herbert, Draper, 
and Buford ; and under Evan Shelby were his sons, Isaac, a 
lieutenant, and James ; and James Robertson and Valentine 
Sevier, orderly sergeants. 

The battle which ensued has been described in such accurate 
and graphic terms in a letter to John Shelby, by Isaac Shelby, 


who played an important part in the fierce engagement, that 
his letter is given here in full : 14 

Camp Opposite to the Mouth of Great Canaway, 

October 16th, 1774. 

Dr. Uncle : — I Gladly imbrace this opportunity to Acquaint You 
that we are all threeis yet alive th(r)o Gods Mercies & I Sinceerly 
wish that this may find you & your Family in the Station of Health 
that we left you. I never had anything Worth Notice to quaint you 
with since I left you till now, the Express seems to be Hurrying 
that I Cant write you with the same Coolness & Deliberation as I 
would; we arrived at the mouth (of) Canaway Thursday 6th. Octr. 
and incampd on a fine piece of Ground with an intent to wait for the 
Governor & his party but hearing that he was going another way we 
Contented our selves to stay there a few days to rest the troops &c, 
when we looked upon our selves to be in safety till Monday morning 
the 10th Instant when two of our Compys. went out before day to 
hunt. To wit Val. Sevier & Jas Robison & Discovered a party of 
Indians ; as I expect you will hear something of our Battle before 
you get this I have here stated this affair nearly to you. 

For the Satisfaction of the people in your parts in this they have a 
true state of the Memorable Battle faught at the mouth of the Great 
Canaway on the 10th. Instant ; Monday morning about half an Hour 
before Sunrise two of Capt. Russells Compy. Discovered a large party 
of Indians about a mile from Camp one of which men was killed the 
Other made his Escape & brought in his intelligence ;16 in two or three 
minutes affter two of Capt Shelbys Compy. Came in and Confirmed 
the Account. Colo. Andrew Lewis being Informed thereof Immediately 
ordered Colo. Charles Lewis to take the Command of 150 men from 
Augusta and with him went Capt. Dickison. Capt. Harrison. Capt. 
Willson. Capt. Jno. Lewis from Augusta and Capt. Lockridge which 
made the first division. Colo. Fleming was also ordered to take the 
Command of one hundred & fifty more Consisting of Botetourt Fin- 
castle and Bedford Troops Viz. Capt. Buford of Bedford Capt. Love 
of Botetourt Capt. Shelby & Capt. Russell of Fincastle which made 
the second Division. Colo. Lewis marched with his Division to the 

i4The copy here used is made directly from the original in the 
Draper Mss., 7 ZZ 2. The text used by Roosevelt (Winning of the 
West) is drawn from a manuscript copy of Shelby's letter, in the 
Campbell Mss. 

i5Captain Evan Shelby and his two sons, Isaac and James. 

i6These were Joseph Hugbey, of Shelby's company, and James 
Mooney, of Russell's. The former was killed by a white renegade, 
Tavenor Ross, while the latter brought the news to camp. Mooney 
was a former neighbor of Daniel Boone, upon the Yadkin in North 
Carolina, and had accompanied him upon the disastrous Kentucky 
hunting expedition of 1769. He was killed at Point Pleasant. Cf. 
Dunmore's War, edited by Thwaites and Kellogg. 271-2. 


Right some Distance up from the Ohio. Colo. Fleming with his 
Division up the banck of the Ohio to the left : Colo. Lewiss Division 
had not marchd. little more than a quarter of a mile from Camp ; 
when about sunrise, an Attact was made on the front of his Division 
in a most Vigorous manner by the Uni*. xl tribes of Indians — Shaw- 
nees ; Delewares ; Mingoes ; Taways.i? and of several Other Nations 
in Number not less than Eight Hundred and by many thaught to be a 
thousand ; in this Heavy Attact Colonel Charles Lewis received a 
wound which soon after Caused his Death and several of his men 
fell in the Spott in fact the Augusta Division was forced to give way 
to the heavy fire of the Enemy. In about a second of a minute after 
the Attact on Colo. Lewiss Division the Enemy Engaged the Front of 
Colo. Flemings Division on the Ohio ; and in a short time Colo. Flem- 
ing reed, two balls thro his left Arm and one thro his breast ; and 
after annimating the Captains and soldiers in a Calm manner to the 
pursuit of Victory returned to Camp, the loss of the Brave Colonels 
was Sensibly felt by the Officers in particular, But the Augusta 
troops being shortly Reinforced from Camp by Colonel Field with his 
Company together with Capt. M'Dowel, Capt. Mathews & Capt. 
Stuart from Augusta, Capt. John Lewis, Capt. Paulin Capt. Arbuckle 
& Capt. M'Clanahan from Botetourt, the Enemy no longer able to 
Maintain their Ground was forced to give way till they were in a 
Line with the troops left in action on Bancks of Ohio, by Colo Flem- 
ing in this precipitate retreat Colo. Field was killed, after which 
Capt, Shelby was ordered to take the Commd. During this time 
which was till after twelve of the Clock, the Action continued Ex- 
treemly Hott, the Close underwood many steep bancks & Loggs 
favoured their retreat, and the Bravest of their men made the use 
of themselves, whilst others were throwing their dead into the Ohio, 
and Carrying of(f) their wounded, after twelve the Action in a 
small degree abated but Continued sharp Enough till after one 
oClock Their Long retreat gave them a most advantages spot of 
ground ; from whence it Appeared to the Officers so difficult to dis- 
lodge them ; that it was thought most adviseable to stand as the line 
then was formed which was about a mile and a quarter in length, and 
had till then sustained a Constant and Equal weight of fire from wing 
to wing, it was till half an Hour of Sun sett they Continued firing on 
us which we returned to their Disadvantage at length Night Coming 
on they found a safe retreat. They had not the satisfaction of scalp- 
ing any of our men save One or two straglers whom they Killed be- 
fore the ingagement many of their dead they scalped rather than 
we should have them but our troops scalped upwards of twenty of 
those who were first killed ; Its Beyond a Doubt their Loss in 
Number farr Exceeds ours, which is Considirable. 

Field Officers killed Colo. Charles Lewis, and Colo. Jno. Fields, 
Field Officers wounded Colo. Willin. Fleming ; Capts. killed John 

i7The Ottawas, a Northwestern tribe. 


Murray Capt. Saml. Willson Capt. Robt. McClanahan, Capt. Jas. 
Ward, Captains wounded Thos Buford John Dickison & John Scid- 
more, Subbalterns Killed Lieutenant Hugh Allen, Ensign Mathew 
Brakin Ensign Cundiff, Subbalterns wounded, Lieut. Lard ; Lieut. 
Yance Lieut. Goldman Lieut. Jas. Robison about 46 killed & 

about 80 wounded from this Sir you may Judge that we had a 
Very hard day its really Impossible for me to Express or you to 
Concieve Acclamations that we were under, sometimes, the Hidious 
Cries of the Enemy and the groans of our wound (ed) men lying 
around was Enough to shuder the stoutest hart its the general Opin- 
ion of the Officers that we shall soon have another Ingagement as we 
have now got Over into the Enemys Country ; we Expect to meet the 
Governor about forty or fifty miles from here nothing will save us 
from another Battle Unless they Attact the Governors Party, five 
men that Came in Dadys (daddy's) Company were killed, I dont 
know that you were Acquainted with any of them Except Marck Wil- 
liams who lived with Roger Top. Acquaint Mr. Carmack that his son 
was slightly wounded thro the shoulder and arm & that he is in a 
likely way of Recovery we leave him at mouth of Canaway & one 
Very Carefull hand to take Care of him ; there is a garrison & three 
Hundred men left at that place with a surgeon to Heal the wounded 
we Expect to Return to the Garrison in about 16 days from the 
Shawny Towns. 

I have nothing more Perticular to Acquaint you with Concerning 
the Battle, as to the Country I cant now say much in praise of any 
that I have yet seen. Dady intended writing to you but did not know 
of the Express till the time was too short I have wrote to Mam(m)y 
tho not so fully as to you as I then expected the Express was Just 
going, we seem to be all in a Moving Posture Just going from this 
place so that I must Conclude wishing you health and prosperity till 
I see you and Your Family in the meantime I am yr truly Effectionate 
Friend & Humble Servt Isaac Shelby. 

To Mr. John Shelby Holstons River Fincastle County favr. by Mr. 
Benja. Gray. 

This recital, written by the young Isaac Shelby, modestly 
omits any mention of the very important part which he him- 
self played in the battle. Upon the death of Colonel John 
Field, Captain Evan Shelby was ordered to the command, 
and upon so doing he gave over the command of his own com- 
pany to his son, Isaac, who, while only holding the rank of a 
lieutenant, acted in the capacity of a captain during about 
half the battle. Cornstalk, Logan, Red Eagle, and other 
brave chieftains, fighting fiercely, led in the attack ; and above 
the terrible din and clangor of the battle could be heard the 


deep, sonorous voice of Cornstalk encouraging bis warriors 
with the injunction : "Be strong ! Be strong !" The Indians 
led by Cornstalk adopted the tactics of making successive 
rushes upon the whites by which they expected to drive the 
frontiersmen into the two rivers, "like so many bullocks," as 
the chief later explained. So terrific were the onslaughts of the 
red men that the lines of the frontiersmen had frequently to 
fall back ; but these withdrawals were only temporary, as they 
were skillfully reinforced each time and again moved steadily 
forward to the conflict. About half an hour before sunset 
General Lewis adopted the dangerous expedient of a flank 
movement. Captains Shelby, Matthews, Arbuckle, and Stuart 
were sent with a detachment up Crooked Creek, which runs 
into the Kanawha a little above Point Pleasant, with a view 
to securing a ridge in the rear of the enemy, from which their 
lines could be enfiladed. Concealed by the undergrowth along 
the bank they endeavored to execute this hazardous move- 
ment ; and John Sawyers, an orderly sergeant, was dispatched 
by Isaac Shelby with a few men of the company to dislodge 
the Indians from their protected position. This fierce attack 
from an unsuspected quarter alarmed the Indians. Cornstalk 
leaped to the conclusion that this was the advance guard of 
Christian's party, and giving the alarm hurried his forces to 
the other side of Old Town Creek. The battle continued in a 
desultory way until sunset, and no decisive victory had been 
achieved. But Cornstalk and his warriors had had enough, 
and withdrew during the night. 1S 

In this remarkable battle, the most stubborn and hotly con- 
tested fight ever made by the Indians against the English, it 
was the flanking movement of the detachment in which Isaac 
Shelby took a leading part that turned the tide and decided 
the victory for the whites. This battle, which brought about 

i8Cornpare the account given by Withers in his Chronicles of Border 
Warfare, edited and annotated by R. G. Thwaites ; Cincinnati, 1908. 
See also Stuart's Narrative, in Virginia Historical Collections, vol. I. 
The most exhaustive account of the entire campaign is embodied in 
Dunmore's War, edited by Thwaites and Kellogg. Madison, 1905. An 
excellent map is found in Avery's History of the United States, vol. 
5, p. 183. 


an early conclusion of peace, was from this standpoint com- 
pletely decisive in character ; and it should not be forgotten 
that Isaac Shelby, the twenty-four year old captain, thus 
played an important role in this thrilling scene of warfare 
preliminary to the great drama of the Revolution. "This 
action," comments Isaac Shelby in his Autobiography , "is 
known to be the hardest ever fought with the Indians and in 
its consequences was of the greatest importance as it was 
fought while the first Congress was sitting at Philadelphia, 
and so completely were the savages chastised, particularly the 
Shawnees and Delawares (the two most formidable tribes) 
that they could not be induced by British agents among them, 
neither to the North nor South, to commence hostilities 
against the United States before July, 1776, in which time the 
frontiers had become considerably stronger and the settle- 
ment of Kentucky had commenced." 

Indeed it was this victory of the Great Kanawha, with its 
temporary subjugation of the savages, which made possible 
Colonel Richard Henderson's gallant advance into Kentucky 
in March-April, 1775, ultimately eventuating in the acquisi- 
tion of Kentucky and the vast trans- Alleghany region to the 
territory of the United States. Shelby's comment is signifi- 
cant in its emphasis, as he was present at the "Great Treaty" 
at the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga in March, 1775, and 
a little later was serving as surveyor in the employ of the 
Transylvania Company. Without the impetus given to the 
colonization of the trans-Alleghany region by Richard Hen- 
derson and the Transylvania Company, there would have been 
no bulwark on the west against the incursions of savages from 
that quarter during the Revolution ; and at the conclusion of 
peace in 1783, the western boundary of the Confederation of 
States would doubtless have been the Alleghany Mountains 
and not the Mississippi River. Isaac Shelby was a hero of the 
first battle preluding the mighty conflict which was ultimately 
to end victoriously at Yorktown. 19 

i9Cf. Hale's Trans-Alleghany Pioneers, Cincinnati, 1886, ch. XXXII. 
Also Todd's Life of Shelby, in National Portrait Gallery, I, 1835. 


At the close of the campaign, if not immediately following 
the battle, a small palisaded rectangle, abont eighty yards 
long, with block houses at two of its corners, was erected at 
Point Pleasant by order of Lord Dunmore. This stockade, 
entitled Fort Blair, was strongly garrisoned, and the chief 
command was given to that splendid border fighter, Captain 
William Russell. The young Isaac Shelby, in recognition of 
his valued services in the recent bloody battle, was made 
second in command. 20 It was here, says tradition, that the 
Indian chief, Cornstalk, came to shake the hand of the young 
paleface brave, Isaac Shelby, who had led the strategic flank 
movement which stampeded his army. 21 

The following interesting letter, addressed to "Mr. Isaac 
Shelby, Holston," explains the state of affairs which then ex- 
isted in that region, and the movements being set on foot. It 
is a double letter, for at the end of Col. William Christian's 
letter to Isaac Shelby, which Shelby had forwarded to Colo. 
William Russell, the latter wrote a supplementary letter, and 
returned the whole to Isaac Shelby. 

Dunkaed Bottom, February 18, 1775. 
Dear Sir : — I have lately been at Williamsburg, and applied to his 
Excellency the Governor to know what was to be done with the garri- 
son at point pleasant. His Lordship has been disappointed in getting 
the consent of the Assembly for the continuance of the Company, but 
he desired me to acquaint Captain Russell that he was to return to 
his post and remain there until the treaty with the Indians, which is 
to be at Fort Dunmore in may, or until further orders. I think it 
will be in June before that treaty is finished & also that his Lordship 
wishes that the garrison could be kept(?) up from a desire he has to 
serve the Frontiers. I have wrote to Captain Russell to come down in 
order to take the charge of one of the Shawnese Hostages who was 
sent up with me. The design of sending him is to satisfy the Indians 

20isaac Shelby's Autobiography. Cf. also Dunmore' s War, p. 310 n; 
Chas. S. Todd's Life of Shelby, National Portrait Gallery, vol. I. 
Thwaites says that General Lewis, who reached Point Pleasant on 
October 28, left there a garrison of fifty men under Captain Russell. 
Cf. Withers's Chronicles of Border Warfare, 1908, p. 176n. 

^Southern Heroism in Decisive Battles for American Independ- 
ence, by Charles Henry Todd, in Journal of American History, vol. II, 
No. 2. 


of our friendly intentions, in contradiction to several reports spread 
among them by pensilvania Traders intimating that we designed fall- 
ing on them next spring. The reports it was feared might set on foot 
a general confederacy among the Shawnese & their neighbors. 

I expect Captain Russell will contrive to be as far as McGavocks 
the 7th. of March on his way to the post and I now write to you 
thinking it may reach you much sooner than Captain Russell could 
send to you, thereby to give you more time to prepare for joining 

I saw Jno. Douglass this evening & he thinks that near 50 men of 
those now on duty will agree to continue & perhaps that will be 
enough. If you get this letter quickly would it not be well for you 
to ride over and consult with the Captain what is to be done. It is 
certain that you or him must set of (off) soon with the Indian, or I 
think it may (mutilated) to come the time I have mentioned. 

A convention of delegates is to be held at Richmond the 20 of 
March to consist of two members from each county & corporation, 
what is to be the consequence of the present disputes is yet uncer- 
tain, but nothing paciflck is expected. The lowland people are gen- 
erally arming and preparing themselves. 

Please to give my compliments to your Father & tell him that it is 
most probable that the Committee will meet the day of our Election 
•yhich is to be the 7 of March & that if he can make it convenient he 
may as well come up. 

I am Sir Your friend & servant, 

Wm Christian 

On the next sheet occurs the following, in the handwriting 

of William Russell : 

My Dear Sir: 

I just Reed, this letter of yours and one of my own. It seems 
Captain Morgan of the Shawanees is sent up for us, to guard out to 
the Shawanees Towns upon Business of Importance, therefore re- 
quest your goodness to meet me on Sunday next at Mr. Souths about 
Night in order to go together to McGavocks against Tuesday next to a 
meeting of the Committee either to Proceed from there or to return 
by my House, if so, you can return Home (mutilated) I start, I am 
Dear Sir. 

Your most obedt Humble 

Servt W. Russell 

Tuesday the 27th, 1775. 
To Mr. Isaac Shelbey Holston. 

When Daniel Boone and his friend, Captain William Rus- 
sell, the leading pioneer in the Clinch Valley, at the head of a 
party of emigrants, attempted their settlement of Kentucky in 


1773, they were driven back by the Indians on September 25, 
and abandoned the enterprise. For years, in fact since 1764, 
Daniel Boone had been making exploring expeditions to the 
westward in the interest of the land company known as Rich- 
ard Henderson and Company. 22 Another explorer for Rich- 
ard Henderson, who later made hunting tours and explora- 
tions in Kentucky, was Henry Skaggs, who as early as 1765 
examined the lower Cumberland region as the representative 
of Richard Henderson and Company and established his sta- 
tion near the present site of Goodletsville, in Davidson 
County, Tennessee. 23 With the Western country thoroughly 
disturbed and infested with bands of hostile red men, during 
1773 and 1774, Col. Henderson recognized the signal unwis- 
dom of attempting a western settlement on an extended scale. 
It was Daniel Boone's impatience to reach the West and his 
determination to settle there, regardless of legal right and 
without securing the title by purchase from the Cherokees, 
which led to his disastrous setback at Walden's Ridge in 
1773. This entire episode exposes Boone's inefficiency as an 
executive and his inability to carry through plans made on a 
large scale. It was not until the remarkable legal mind of 
Judge Henderson and his rare executive ability were applied 
to the vast and complex project of western colonization that 
it was carried through to a successful termination. 

Two momentous circumstances now intervened to make 
possible the great western venture, upon which Judge Hen- 
derson, during a decade and more, had staked all his hopes. 
Correspondence with the highest legal authorities in England 
assured Judge Henderson that despite the Royal Proclama- 
tion in 1763 he would be entirely within his rights, as a Brit- 
ish subject, to purchase the western lands from the Cherokees 
and secure authentic title thereto. The victory of the back- 
woodsmen over the red men at the Battle of the Great Kana- 

22Compare the author's The Creative Forces in Westward Expan- 
sion: Henderson and Boone, in the American Historical Review, 
October, 1914. 

23Albright's Early History of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, 1909, 
p. 23. 


wha greatly reduced the dangers incident to a visit to the 
Kentucky wilderness, and in 1775 warranted the bold venture 
which, in 1773, Boone, upon his own responsibility alone, had 
found so disastrous. Following the Battle of the Great Ka- 
nawha, Judge Henderson, accompanied by his friend and 
neighbor, Colonel Nathaniel Hart, visited the Indians at their 
towns and, upon inquiry, learned that the Cherokees were 
disposed to sell their claims to the Kentucky territory. The 
agreement was made to meet the entire tribe of the Cherokees 
in Treaty Council at the Sycamore Shoals, on Watauga River, 
early in the next year. On their return to the settlements 
Judge Henderson and Colonel Hart were accompanied by the 
Little Carpenter, a wise old Indian Chief, and a young buck 
and his squaw, as delegates to see that proper goods were pur- 
chased for the proposed barter. These goods were purchased 
in December, 1774, at Cross Creek, near Fayetteville, North 
Carolina, and forwarded by wagons to Watauga. 

Since his repulse at Walden's Ridge, in September, 1773, 
when the sons of both Russell and himself had been slaugh- 
tered by Indians, Boone, together with his family, had been 
residing in a cabin upon the farm of Captain David Gass, 
seven or eight miles from Russell's, upon Clinch River. He 
was now summoned to Watauga, instructed to collect the en- 
tire tribe of Cherokee Indians and bring them in to the treaty 
ground. The news of the purposes of the Transylvania Com- 
pany became public property when Judge Henderson and his 
associates, in January, 1775, issued their "Proposals for the 
Settlement of Western Lands," which, in the form of broad- 
sides, were distributed widely along the fringe of settlements 
upon the Indian border line. News of the proposed treaty 
quickly reached young Isaac Shelby at Fort Blair; and his 
pioneering instinct unerringly drew him to the focus of in- 
terest, the treaty ground. We are fortunate in having handed 
down to us, from that early time, a description of the treaty 
on the part of the young Isaac Shelby, who was an eye-witness. 
Following the confiscation of the Transylvania Company's 
claims by the State of Virginia, a series of extended investiga- 


tions in regard to the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals were made 
by order of the Virginia Legislature. The points that were 
in great need of being settled were: First, whether the de- 
ponents were financially interested in lands under the Tran- 
sylvania Company ; second, whether the treaty was conducted 
with entire fairness ; and third, whether the deeds taken by 
the Transylvania Company were identical, in regard to the 
metes and bounds of the territory purchased, with the verbal 
statement of the negotiators of the treaty, made to the Chero- 
kees. As it was subsequently proven, as a result of the inves- 
tigations of the Virginia Commissioners, that the treaty was 
conducted with scrupulous fairness by Judge Henderson and 
his partners, it is interesting to read the following extract 
from the deposition sworn to on December 3, 1777, before 
Edmund Randolph and Jo. Prentiss, by Isaac Shelby: 

"That in March, 1775, this Deponent was present at a 
Treaty held at Wattaugha between the said Henderson and 
the Cherokee Indians : that the deponent then heard the said 
Henderson call the Indians, when the deed by which the said 
Henderson now claims was going to be signed, and declared 
that they would attend to what was going to be done : that the 
deponent believes the courses in the said Deed contained, to 
be the very courses which the said Henderson read therefrom 
to the Indians and were interpreted to them. That the said 
Henderson took the said Deed from among several others lying 
on a table, all of which appeared to the Deponent to be of the 
same tenor with that which he read — That at the time of this 
Treaty, one Read who was there and suspected that the 
said Henderson intended to purchase some lands which he 
himself had his Eyes on, desired the said Deed to be read 
before it was signed, which was accordingly done, and the 
said Read objected not thereto." 

It was doubtless at some time during the course of the 
treaty — a treaty universally conceded to have been unparal- 
leled for honesty and fair dealing with the Indians on the 
part of the whites — that Judge Henderson, attracted by the 
sterling qualities of the young Shelby and by his manifest 


eagerness to connect himself with Henderson's plans of 
colonization, secured the promise of his services in the future, 
following the expiration of his term of enlistment, as surveyor 
for the Transylvania Company. The garrison of Fort Blair 
was not disbanded until July, 1775 ; and immediately Shelby 
journeyed to Kentucky and engaged in the business of land 
surveyor for the proprietors of the Transylvania Company, 
who had established a regular land office as the result of their 
purchase of the Kentucky area from the Cherokees. Here he 
remained for nearly twelve months, surveying numerous 
tracts of land for the Transylvania proprietors, and likewise 
making a number of entries of land for himself in Judge Hen- 
derson's land office. 24 His health finally became impaired, 
owing to continued exposure to wet and cold, combined with 
the frequent necessity for going without either bread or salt. 
On this account he was compelled to return to the settlements 
on Holston. 

In July, 1776, during his absence in Kentucky, Shelby was 
appointed Captain of a minute company by the Committee of 
Safety in Virginia. As described by Shelby this was "a 
species of troops organized for the first emergency of the War 
of the Revolution, which, however, was not called into actual 
service from the extreme frontier on which he (Shelby) 
lived." On December 6th of this year, the General Assembly 
of Virginia passed an act dividing the county of Fincastle into 
three distinct counties, to-wit : Montgomery, Washington, and 
Kentucky. In this act the bounds of Washington County 
were defined as follows : 

"That all that part of said county of Fincastle included in 
the lines beginning at the Cumberland Mountains where the 
line of Kentucky county intersects the North Carolina (now 
Tennessee) line; thence to the east along the said Carolina 
line to the top of Iron mountain ; thence along the same east- 

24in his deposition, referred to above, Isaac Shelby stated : "This 
Deponent has made several Entries for lands in Mr. Henderson's 
Office, but does not conceive himself to be in any manner interested in 
the Event of the dispute, between the Commonwealth of Virginia and 
the said Henderson." Cal. Ya. State Papers, I, 296-7. 


erly to the source of the South Fork of the Holston river; 
thence northwardly along the highest part of the highlands, 
ridges, and mountains that divide the waters of the Tennessee 
from those of the Great Kanawha to the most easterly source 
of Clinch River; thence westwardly along the top of the 
mountain that divides the waters of the Clinch river from 
those of the Great Kanawha and Sandy Creek to the line of 
Kentucky county and thence along the same to the beginning, 
shall be one other distinct county and called and known by 
the name of Washington." 

The eastern boundary of Washington County as thus de- 
fined was altered by Act of the General Assembly at its ses- 
sion in the month of May, 1777, as follows : 

"Beginning at a ford on Holston river, next above Captain 
John Campbells, at the Royal Oak, and running from thence 
a due south course to the dividing line between the States of 
Virginia and Xorth Carolina ; and from the ford aforesaid 
to the westerly end of Morris's Knob, about three miles above 
Maiden Spring on Clinch, and from thence, by a line to be 
drawn due north, until it shall intersect the waters of the 
Great Sandy river." 20 

The officers of the county commissioned by Governor Pat- 
rick Henry on the 21st day of December, 1776, were as fol- 
lows: James Dysart, sheriff; Arthur Campbell, county lieu- 
tenant ; Evan Shelby, Colonel ; William Campbell, lieutenant- 
colonel ; and Daniel Smith, Major. Among the names of 
those on the same day commissioned justices of the peace was 
that of Evan Shelby. The first court assembled at Black's 
Fort (now Abingdon) on the last Tuesday in January, 1777. 
On the second day of the court, being the 29th of January, 
Isaac Shelby was recommended, with others, to be added to 
the Commission of Peace for the county, and was accordingly 
commissioned. It may be interesting to record that, when, on 
February 26, 1777, the court recommended to the Governor 
of Virginia the militia officers for Washington County, both 

25Hening's Statutes. 1776. 


John Shelby, Sr., and James Shelby were duly commissioned 
with the rank of Captain. During some portion of this time 
Isaac Shelby was busily engaged in acting as commissary of 
supplies, a post to which he was appointed by Governor Henry, 
for a large body of militia posted at several garrisons for the 
purpose of guarding the back settlements. Of his activity we 
have evidence in the great distances which he travelled. For 
instance, in September of this year, we find him at Harrods- 
burgh, in Kentucky, swapping horses with the future brilliant 
and meteoric figure, the conqueror of the Northwest. In 
Clark's diary one finds the following terse entry : 

"Harrodsburgh, September 29. — Bought a horse, price 
£12 ; swapped with I. Shelby, boot £10." 

I have often wondered who got the "boot" — the phlegmatic 
Welshman or the mercurial Virginian ! 

During this same year, Isaac Shelby was likewise in- 
structed to lay in supplies for a grand treaty, to be held at 
the Long Island of Holston River, in June and July, with the 
tribe of Cherokee Indians. 

"These supplies could not possibly be obtained nearer than 
Staunton, a distance of near three hundred miles," says 
Shelby, writing in the third person, "but by the most inde- 
fatigable perseverance (one of the most prominent traits in 
his character) he accomplished it to the satisfaction of his 

It is necessary for us to recall that in 1772 Colonel John 
Donelson, of Pittsylvania County, acting as commissioner for 
Virginia, had established with the Cherokees the western 
boundary line of that colony, viz: a course running in a 
direct line from a point six miles east of the Holston River 
toward the mouth of the Great Kanawha River, until the line 
struck the Kentucky River, and thence along that river to its 
junction with the Ohio. 26 

26A price was agreed upon and promised, but not then paid, for the 
large section of Kentucky north and east of the Kentucky river thus 
alienated to Virginia. Considerable doubt still prevails as to whether 
the price promised by Donelson was ever paid over to the Cherokees. 


In 1777 Governor Henry, of Virginia, notified Governor 
Caswell, of North Carolina, of a treaty to be had with the 
Cherokees. The object of Virginia was to alter the boundary 
line as run by Colonel Donelson, and to have the road to and 
through the Cumberland Gap, the gateway to Kentucky, in- 
cluded in the cession. The commissioners chosen to represent 
Virginia were Col. William Preston, Col. Evan Shelby, and 
Col. William Christian, or any two of them. The commis- 
sioners chosen to represent North Carolina were Col. Waight- 
still Avery, Col. William Sharpe, Col. Robert Lanier, and 
Colonel Joseph Winston. The treaty lasted from the 26th of 
June until the 20th of July, when it was concluded to the 
satisfaction of both Virginia and North Carolina. The line 
established by Donelson in 1772 was not materially altered ; 
but the alteration involved the lands claimed by the Transyl- 
vania Company under their purchase from the Cherokees in 
March, 1775. For reasons of policy and because of lack of 
instructions from their respective governments the commis- 
sioners refused to take account of the memorial presented by 
Judge Henderson and his associates. The treacherous and 
wily Indian Chiefs characteristically sought to convince the 
commissioners that Judge Henderson had treated them hardly 
in maintaining the provisions of the "Great Treaty" of 1775 ; 
but the deposition of Isaac Shelby (already quoted from in 
part) is conclusive on the point : 

"That being present at the late Treaty at Long Island, this 
deponent remembers to have heard Occunostoto or the Tassel 
(but which he does not recollect) say that ever since he had 
signed the paper to Mr. Henderson, he was afraid to sign 
one, and that Mr. Henderson ever since he had signed the 
Paper, deprived him of the privilege of catching even Craw 
fish on the land. That this deponent was present at the time 
of signing the said Deed at Wattaugha, when everything was 
conducted fairly on the part of the said Henderson, who after 
signing, desired the Indians to go and take the goods which 
he designed for them." 27 

27(7aZ. Va, State Papers, I. 


This was a memorable gathering of the leading pioneer 
figures of the day. Revolution was the burning topic of dis- 
cussion, and the spirit of independence, so long held in leash, 
found universal expression. In the characteristic phraseology 
of the patriotic Putnam: 

"Here were Robertson and Sevier, Boone and Bledsoe, 
Shelby, Henderson, Hart and others — all men of worth, of 
nerve, of enterprise — 'men who feared God, but obeyed no 
earthly king.' 

"They talked freely of the Declaration of Independence, as 
it had been announced at Mecklenburg, in North Carolina, by 
Patrick Henry and the Virginians, and by the Continental 
Congress just twelve months before. They did not think of 
giving notoriety out there to the Fourth of July ; but they all 
heartily concurred in the renunciation of allegiance to the 
King of Great Britain, and in the resolution to make 'these 
States free and independent.' " 2S 

In 1778, as we learn from Shelby's account, he was still 
engaged in the commissary department to provide supplies 
for the Continental Army, and also for a formidable expedi- 
tion by the way of Pittsburg against the Northwestern In- 
dians. This was the expedition of General Mcintosh against 
the Ohio Indians. On Dec. 12, 1778, the Virginia Council 
issued instructions to John Montgomery "to put on Foot the 
recruiting of men to reinforce Colo. Clarke at the Illinois 
and to push it on with all possible expedition." 29 

George Rogers Clark was in desperate straits for men and 
supplies in view of the fact that General Mcintosh's proposed 
expedition from Fort Pitt against Detroit had to be aban- 
doned. John Montgomery was given a very free hand in re- 
cruiting for Clark ; and the following entry shows to what ex- 
tent Isaac Shelby was relied upon to fit out with supplies 
various expeditions along the frontier : 

As soon as the state of Affairs in the recruiting business will per- 
mit you are to go to the Ilinois Country and join Colo Clarke. I need 

^History of Middle Tennessee, 617. 
29ClarJcs Mss., Va. State Archives. 


not tell you how necessary the greatest possible dispatch is to the 
good of the service in which you are engaged Our party at Ilinois 
may be lost together with the present favorable disposition of the 
French & Indians there unless every moment is improved for their 
preservation & no future oppertunity if the present is lost can ever be 
expected so favorable to the interest of the Commonwealth. I there- 
fore urge it on you to exert yourself to the utmost to lose not a 
moment to forward the great work you have in hand & to conquer 
every difficulty in your way arising from inclement season, great 
distances, want of many necessaries, opposition from enemies & 
others I cant enumerate but must confide in your virtue to guard 
against and surmount. Capt Isaac Shelby it is desired may purchase 
the boats but if he cant do it you must get some other person 

You receive 10000 £ Cash for Col : Clarke's corps which you are to 
deliver him except 200 £ for Capt Shelby to build the boats & what 
other incidental expences happen necessarily on your way which are 
to come out of that Sum. I am &c. 

A. Blair C C30 

In the beginning of the year 1779 Isaac Shelby was ap- 
pointed by Governor Henry of Virginia to furnish supplies 
for a strong campaign against the Chickamauga Indians. 
Owing to the poverty of the treasury, not one cent could be 
advanced by the government and the whole expense of the 
supplies and the transportation was sustained by his own in- 
dividual credit. In the spring of that year he was elected a 
member of the Virginia Legislature from Washington 
County, for at that time it was supposed his residence was 
within the chartered limits of North Carolina. 

Following the Treaty of Long Island in 1777, already 
spoken of, it was apparent to the Commissioners from North 
Carolina that the settlements, having projected so far west- 
ward of the point to which the dividing line had been run, it 
was highly desirable that the line be extended. In a letter 
from Waightstill Avery and William Sharpe, to Governor 
Caswell, August 7, 1777, they express the conviction that 
"the extension of the line between the two States is now be- 
come an object worthy the immediate attention of govern- 
ment — it would be the means of preventing many great dis- 

zociark Papers, 83. 


putes." 31 In 1778 the Assembly of Virginia and, a little 
later, the Assembly of North Carolina, passed similar acts 
for extending and marking the boundary. The acting Com- 
missioners for North Carolina were Col. Richard Henderson, 
his cousin, Col. John Williams, of Granville County, and 
Captain William Bailey Smith. The Commissioners repre- 
senting Virginia were Dr. Thomas Walker, who had made the 
remarkable exploration of Kentucky in 1750, and Daniel 
Smith, the map maker, who was afterwards promoted for 
his services along the Cumberland. The task of running the 
boundary line was regarded as a dangerous one, on account 
of the hostile intentions of the Indians ; and each state com- 
missioned a detachment to guard the Commissioners while 
they were engaged in the arduous enterprise. The Virginia 
Commission was provided with a military escort of twenty- 
five men, under the command of Isaac Shelby, commissioned 
a Major for that purpose by Governor Jefferson. 32 As the 
result of the extension of the boundary line, the county of 
Sullivan was erected, and Isaac Shelby, who had recently 
served in the Virginia Legislature and received a military 
commission from Governor Jefferson, was appointed Colonel 
Commandant of this new county of Sullivan. 

In 1779 a court of commissioners with plenary powers was 
created by the commonwealth of Virginia to adjudicate with- 
out appeal upon the incipient land titles of the country. Wil- 
liam Fleming, Edmund Lyne, James Barbour, and Stephen 
Trigg, citizens of Virginia but not of the county of Ken- 
tucky, were appointed as commissioners. This court had 
alternate sessions at St. Asaph, Harrodsburg, Boone sborough, 
the Falls of the Ohio, and Bryan's Station. The court was 
opened at St. Asaph on October 13, 1779 ; and at Harrods- 
burg on February 26, 1780, the court announced that its 

sistate Records of North Carolina, vol. II, pp. 567-S. Cf. also Sum- 
mers S. W. Virginia, pp. 695-6. 

32Cf. Journal of Daniel Smith, edited by St. George L. Sioussat, Ten- 
nessee Historical Magazine, March, 1915 ; Kentucky-Tennessee Bound- 
ary Line, by J. Stoddart Johnston, Register Ky. State Hist'l. Soc'y. 
Sept., 190S. 


powers had elapsed and accordingly adjourned sine die. 
Thousands of claims, of various kinds, were granted by the 
court during its existence. It was quite fitting, and in itself 
an event worthy of commemoration, that the first claim pre- 
sented for adjudication was that of Isaac Shelby, among the 
first on the ground as surveyor under Henderson and Com- 
pany, and later to become the first governor of the Common- 
wealth of Kentucky. The entry was as follows : 

"Captain John Logan for and in behalf of Isaac Shelby 
this day produced a claim, and making a Crop of Corn for 
the same in the year 1778 Lying on a branch that heads at the 
Knob Lick & about a mile and a half or two Miles from the 
said Lick a southeasterly course, proof being made satisfac- 
tory to the court they are of Opinion that the said Shelby has a 
right to a settlement & Preemption according to law and that 
certificates issue for the same." 33 

The amount of land thus granted was fourteen hundred 
acres ; prior to this time it would seem, Isaac Shelby had per- 
fected no claims for western lands. It is worthy of note that 
in his deposition before Edmund Randolph and Jo. Prentiss, 
on December 3, 1777, regarding the Transylvania lands, 
Isaac Shelby states he had "made several entries for lauds in 
Mr. Henderson's office, but does not consider himself to be in 
any manner interested in the Event of the dispute, between 
the Commonwealth of Virginia and the said Henderson." 34 
This place, Knob Lick, in what is now Lincoln County, Ken- 
tucky, was settled in 1776 by Isaac Shelby while a surveyor 
under Henderson and Company. In the early spring of 
1783, it may be remarked in passing, Shelby built his house 
upon the very spot where he had camped in 1776, on the tract 
of land he had preempted, and upon which he planted a crop 
of corn, which he left to be cultivated by a tenant, when he 
himself went to Williamsburg, then the Capital of Virginia, 
for his appointment by Governor Patrick Henry as a Captain 

33For this copy I am indebted to Judge Samuel M. Wilson, of Lex- 
ington, Ky. 

34Cal. Va. mate Papers, I, pp. 296-7. 


of the Provisional Army. 35 Upon this preemption in August, 
1786, Governor Shelby built the first stone house ever erected 
in Kentucky. This was the famous residence known as 
"Traveler's Eest." It is recorded that the late Col. Nathaniel 
Hart, of Woodford County, used to say that when it was re- 
ported that Col. Shelby had found stone suitable for building 
purposes, he received many letters from various portions of 
the United States inquiring if it could possibly be there; as 
well as many visits to verify the fact, some from as great a 
distance as Mason County. The real scarcity of stone then 
seems almost incredible now— in view of the unlimited supply 
visible on all sides; but was doubtless due to the luxurious 
growth of cane, and to the heavy foliage which so thoroughly 
covered the ground when it fell. 36 

During the summer of 1780, while he was locating and se- 
curing his claims made under the Transylvania Company, 
Shelby with his company spent some time among the North- 
western Indians — Piankeshaws, Pottawattamies, and Miamis. 
In his Memoir, George Rogers Clark makes the following 
amusing entry : 

"The ensuing summer (1780), Captain I. Shelby, with 
his own company only, lay for a considerable time in the 
heart of their (the Indians') country, and was treated in the 
most friendly manner by all the natives that he saw, and was 
frequently invited by them to join and plunder what was 
called 'the King's Pasture at Detroit.' What they meant was 
to go and steal horses from that settlement." 37 

What a lark that would have been for the staid and phleg- 
matic Shelby! 

While still in Kentucky, in the summer of 1780, Shelby 
received intelligence (June 16) of the surrender of Charles- 
ton and the loss of the army. He made haste to return home 
(the first part of July), as he himself says, "determined to 
enter the service of his country, until her independence was 

35Draper's Kings Mountain, 412 ; Shelby's Autobiography. 
36Collins' History of Kentucky (1882), i, 514. 
37Englisli's Conquest of the Northwest, I, 549. 


secured; for he could not remain a cool spectator of a con- 
quest in which his dearest rights and interests were at stake." 
The story of the events which immediately succeeded this de- 
termination is best told in his own words : 

"On his arrival in Sullivan he joined a requisition from 
General Charles McDowell, ordering him to furnish all the 
aid in his power, to assist in giving a check to the enemy, who 
had overrun the two Southern States and were then on the 
border of J^orth Carolina. Col. Shelby assembled the Militia 
of his County, called upon them to volunteer their services 
for a short period on that interesting occasion, and marched 
in a very few days with near two hundred mounted riflemen 
across the Alleghany Mountain. 

"Shortly after his arrival at McDowell's camp the army 
moved to near the Cherokee Ford of Broad River, from 
whence Col. Shelby and Lieut. Col. Clark of Georgia were 
detached with five hundred mounted men 38 to attack a British 
Fort, about twenty miles to the South, which was garrisoned 
principally by Loyalists. Col. Shelby left McDowell's camp 
late in the evening and arrived at the enemies Post just after 
daylight the next morning 39 which he found to be enclosed by 
a strong Abbatus (abatis), and everything within, indicating 
resistance. He however made a peremptory demand of a sur- 
render, when Capt. Patrick Moor, who commanded returned 
for answer that he would defend the Post to the last extrem- 
ity. 40 Our lines were then drawn to within a distance of 
about two hundred yards around the Garrison, with a determ- 
ination to storm it. He however sent a messenger a second 
time to demand a surrender before he would proceed to ex- 
tremities. To this the enemy agreed to give up the Post, on 
their being Paroled not to serve again during the war; or 
until they were regularly exchanged. In it were found ninety- 

38Shelby's figures are never conspicuous for accuracy. The detach- 
ment in this instance consisted of some six hundred horsemen. 

3»Sunday, July 30. Cf. Allaire's Diary. 

40The person sent in to demand the surrender of the post was 
Captain William Cocke, who made the daring ride for Col. Richard 
Henderson in April, 1775. 


two Loyalists, with one British subbolten (subaltern) officer 
left there to discipline them, also two hundred and fifty stand 
of arms, well charged with ball and buckshot and well dis- 
posed of at the different port holes. This was a strong post 
built for defense in the Cherokee war of '76 and stood on a 
branch of a small river called Pacolet. 

a Shortly after this affair and his return to McDowell's 
camp Shelby and Clark were again detached with six hun- 
dred mounted men to watch the movements of the Enemy, 
and if possible to cut up his foraging parties. Ferguson who 
commanded the Enemy about two thousand five hundred 
strong, 41 composed of British and Tories, with a small squad- 
ron of British Horse, was an officer of great enterprise and 
although only a Major in the British line, was a Brigadier 
General in the royal militia establishment made by the enemy 
after he had overrun South Carolina, and esteemed the most 
distinguished partisan officer belonging to the British army. 
He made several attempts to surprise Col. Shelby, but his de- 
signs were always baffled. On the first 42 of August however, 
his advance, about six or seven hundred strong, came up with 
the American Commander at a place he had chosen to fight 
him, called Cedar Spring; when a sharp conflict ensued 
which lasted about half an hour ; when Ferguson came up 
with his whole force. The Americans then retreated, carry- 
ing off the field of battle about twenty prisoners and two 
British Subalterns. 43 Their killed was not ascertained. The 
Americans lost eight killed and upwards of thirty wounded, 
mostly with the sabre officers. The Enemy made great efforts 
for several miles to regain the prisoners, but by forming fre- 
quently on advantageous ground apparently to give them 
battle the enemy were retarded in their pursuit, so that the 
prisoners were pushed out of their reach. General McDowell 

41 Shelby's original statement in Haywood's Tennessee is that the 
enemy numbered about two thousand ; it may have been as small a 
number as eighteen hundred. 

42The date is correctly given in Allaire's Diary as August eighth. 

43in Todd's Memoir of Shelby the number of prisoners taken is 
increased from twenty to fifty. 


having by some means got information that a party from four 
to six hundred Loyalists were encamped near Musgrove's 
Mill, on the South Side of the Enoree River, about forty 
miles distant; he again detached Col. Shelby, Williams and 
Clark with about seven hundred horsemen, 44 to surprise and 
disperse them. Ferguson with his whole force was encamped 
at that time on their most direct route. The American com- 
manders took up their line of march from Smith's Ford on 
Broad river (where McDowell's army was then encamped) 
just at sundown on the evening of the 18th 45 August 1780 — 
marched through the woods till after dark, and then took a 
road leaving Ferguson's camp about three miles to the left. 
They rode very hard all night, the greatest part of the way in 
a fast travelling gait, and just at the dawn of day, about half 
a mile from the Enemy's camp, met a strong patrol party, a 
short skirmish ensued, and several of them were killed. At 
that juncture a countryman living immediately at the spot, 
came up and informed, that the enemy had been reinforced 
the evening before, with six hundred regular troops (the 
Queens American regiment from New York) under Col. 
Ennes, destined to reinforce Ferguson's army; and the cir- 
cumstances attending this information were so minute and 
particular, that no doubt was entertained of its truth although 
the man was a Tory. 46 To march on and attack the enemy 
then seemed improper. To attempt an escape from the enemy 
in the rear appeared improbable, broke down as were the 
Americans and their horses; for it was well known to them 
that the enemy could mount six or seven hundred infantry 
with horses of the Loyalists. They instantly determined to 

44R is probable that the American forces numbered only from two 
hundred and fifty to three hundred and fifty. Probably the British 
originally numbered approximately six hundred. 

45The weight of authority favors the seventeenth, the battle occurr- 
ing on the eighteenth. 

46it is probable that this statement with respect to the number of 
British was a considerable exaggeration. Gov. Abner Nash, writing 
Sept. 10, 17S0, gives Williams' force as two hundred and the British 
as four hundred. The name of the commander of the British re- 
inforcement, was Innes, not Ennes. 



form a breastwork of old logs and brush near the spot, and 
make the best defense in their power; for by this time the 
drums and bugle horns of the enemy were distinctly heard in 
their camp on the high ground across the river, and soon in- 
dicated their movements. Captain Inman was sent with 
twenty-five men, to meet the enemy and skirmish with them, 
so soon as they crossed the Enoree River Capt. Inman was 
ordered to fire on them, and retreat according to his own dis- 
cretion. This strategem (which was the suggestion of the 
Capt. himself) drew the enemy forward in disorder, believing 
they had driven our whole party; and when they came up 
within seventy yards a most destructive fire commenced from 
our Riflemen who lay concealed behind their breastwork of 
pine logs and brush, which was near half a mile long. 47 It 
was one whole hour before the enemy could force our Rifle- 
men from their slender breastwork. Just as they began to 
give way in some parts, Col. Ennes was badly wounded ; and 
all the other British officers except one being previously killed 
or wounded ; and Capt. Hawsey a considerable leader among 
the Loyalists being shot down; the whole of the enemy's line 
began to give way, the Americans pursued them close, and 
beat them across the river with slaughter. 48 In this pursuit 
Capt. Inman was killed bravely fighting the enemy hand to 
hand. In this action Col. Shelby commanded the right 
wing, Clark the left and Williams the center. The Americans 
returned to their horses and mounted with a determination to 
be in ISTinety-Six (at that time a weak British Post) before 
night ; it being less than thirty miles distant according to in- 
formation then received. At that moment an express from 
G-en'l McDowell (one Erancis Jones) came up in great haste 
with a short letter in his hand from Governor Caswell, dated 
on the battle ground near Camden apprising McDowell of 

47The Americans had been cautioned to reserve their fire "till they 
could see the buttons on the enemies' clothes." 

48William Smith of Watauga, whose bullet had struck down Innes, 
exultantly exclaimed : "I've killed their commander," whereupon 
Shelby "rallied his men who raised a regular frontier Indian yell and 
rushed furiously upon the enemy, who were gradually forced back 
before the exasperated riflemen." Cf. Draper's Kings Mountain, 108. 


the defeat of the American grand army under Gen'l Gates, on 
the 16th near that place, advising him to get out of the way, 
for that army would no doubt endeavor to improve their vic- 
tory to the greatest advantage by cutting up all the small corps 
of the American armies within their reach. It was fortunate 
that Col. Shelby had some knowledge of Governor Caswell's 
handwriting and knew what reliance to place upon it ; but how 
to avoid the enemy in his rear, broke down with fatigue as his 
men and horses were, with upwards of two hundred prisoners 
(mostly British) taken in the action — was a difficult task. 
The loss in killed of the enemy was not ascertained owing to 
the sudden manner in which the Americans were obliged to 
leave the battle ground, but must have been very great, from 
the incessant fire that was poured upon them by our Riflemen 
for considerably more than an hour. Our loss did not exceed 
nine or ten, as the enemy generally overshot the breast- 
work. 49 The prisoners were distributed amongst the com- 
panies, so as to make about one to every three men, who car- 
ried them alternately on horseback directly towards the moun- 
tains. We continued our march all that day, the night follow- 
ing and the next day until late in the evening, without ever 
stopping to refresh. 50 This long and rapid retreat saved the 
Americans, for it is a fact that, De Peyster second in com- 
mand of Ferguson's army, pursued them with seven hundred 
mounted men to the place where they had foraged and re- 
freshed themselves in the evening of the second day after the 
action; and having arrived there half an hour after our de- 
parture, at dusk, so broke down by excessive fatigue in hot 
weather, he gave up the chase. 51 Having seen the party and 

49Draper says : "four killed and eight or nine wounded." The 
British loss, according to the same authority, was eighty-three killed, 
about ninety wounded, and seventy prisoners — a total of two hundred 
and twenty-three out of between four hundred to five hundred — an 
unusually high percentage of loss. 

50This is an admirable illustration of the indomitable persistence 
and strenuous energy of Shelby. 

siNote B at end of Shelby's Ms. is as follows : "This information 
Col. Shelby received from De Peyster himself after he was captured 
at Kings Mountain in October following." Draper pronounces this an 
error on the authority of Fanning, the Tory annalist, who asserts that 
on the night after the battle De Peyster accompanied him from Mus- 
grove's Mill to Ninety Six. 


the prisoners out of all danger Col. Shelby retreated over the 
Western waters with his followers, and left the prisoners with 
Clark and Williams to carry them on to some place of safety 
in Virginia. So great was the panic after Gen'l Gates' de- 
feat, and Gen. Sumpter's disaster, that McDowell's whole 
army broke. Some retreated west of the mountains, and others 
went to the North. This action which lasted one hour and a 
half and fought so shortly after the defeat of our grand army, 
is scarcely known in the history of the Revolution. 52 Fergu- 
son too, made a hard push with his main army to intercept 
and retake the prisoners before they could reach the moun- 
tains, but finding his efforts vain, he took post at a place called 
Gilbert Town." 

News of the disastrous reverse to General Gates and the 
American army at Camden, on August 16, 1780, and of the 
defeat of General Sumter which followed shortly afterwards, 
produced the immediate effect of spreading universal conster- 
nation and alarm. The various bodies of Whig Militia were 
forced to scatter in all directions. From his post at Gilbert 
Town, Ferguson paroled a prisoner, one Samuel Philips, a 
distant relation of Isaac Shelby's, and "-Instructed him to in- 
form the officers on the Western waters, that if they did not 
desist from their opposition to the British arms, and take pro- 
tection under his standard, he would march his army over the 
mountains, and lay their army waste with fire and sword." 53 
Immediately following the affair at Musgrove's Mill, Shelby, 
with the approbation of Major Robertson, had proposed that 
an army of volunteers be raised on both sides of the moun- 
tains for the purpose of resisting Ferguson's advance. At 
the time the concensus of opinion heartily favored Shelby's 
proposal. As soon as Shelby received Ferguson's threatening 

52Shelby elsewhere describes the battle as "the hardest and best 
fought action he ever was in" — attributing this valor and persistency 
to "the great number of officers who were with him as volunteers." 

53General Joseph Graham's account in General Joseph Graham, and 
His Revolutionary Papers, by W. A. Graham, 1904. This account 
originally appeared in the Southern Literary Messenger, September, 
1S45. Compare, also, Draper's Kings Mountain, p. 169. 


and insulting message, he set in train a course of events 
which were the reverse of the result aimed at by Ferguson. 
The letter instead of having a deterrent and intimidating 
effect upon Shelby, only fired to immediate execution the de- 
termination which he had already reached to arouse the fierce 
mountain men to action. Without delay, Shelby rode off 
about forty miles to see John Sevier, the efficient commander 
of the militia of Washington County, at his home near Jones- 
borough. Here, after his ride in feverish haste, he found Se- 
vier in the midst of great festivities — a horse race was in 
progress, and the people in crowds were in attendance at the 
barbecue. Angered by the insolent taunt of Ferguson, Shelby 
vehemently declared that this was a time, not for a frolic, but 
for a fight. Sevier, the daring and adventurous, eagerly 
seconded Shelby's proposal to arouse the mountain men, to 
cooperate with other forces that might be raised, and to make 
an effort to attack, by surprise, and to defeat Ferguson in his 
camp ; if this were not practicable, to unite with any corps of 
patriots with which they might meet and wage war against 
the enemies of America ; and in the event of failure, with the 
consequent desolation of their homes, to take water, float down 
the Holston, Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers and find 
a home with the Spaniards in Louisiana. 54 For two days 
Shelby remained in consultation with Sevier; the Sycamore 
Shoals of the Watauga was agreed upon as the rendezvous for 
their forces, and the time of meeting the twenty-fifth of Sep- 
tember. A small force of one hundred and sixty men, under 
Colonel Charles McDowell and Colonel Andrew Hampton, 
driven before the enemy, had encamped at Watauga on Sep- 
tember 18th; and their "doleful tale," as Col. Arthur Camp- 
bell expressed it, still further "tended to excite the resentment 
of the western militia." Sevier undertook to bring this force 
into the movement ; and Isaac Shelby sent his brother Moses, 
who held the rank of Captain, with a message to Colonel Wil- 
liam Campbell, of the neighboring county of Washington, 

5*Life of General John Sevier, by F. M. Turner ; pp. 10S-9. Draper's 
Kings Mountain, p. 170. 


urgently requesting his cooperation. Campbell had other 
plans on foot; but upon the receipt of a second and more 
urgent message from Shelby, he acquiesced in the latter's plan 
for the attack on Ferguson. Shelby likewise despatched a 
messenger, a Mr. Adair, to the County Lieutenant of Wash- 
ington County, Colonel Arthur Campbell, the cousin and 
brother-in-law of William Campbell, requesting his coopera- 
tion. Arthur Campbell had just returned from a conference 
with Governor Jefferson, and was in a mood to act, as the 
Governor had pressed upon him the need for a more vigorous 
resistance to the enemy. Campbell sent word back that "if 
the western counties of North Carolina could raise a force to 
join Col. McDowell's men, that the officers of Washington 
County would cooperate." 55 

ssKings Mountain — A Fragment, by Col. Arthur Campbell. 


The Old Cemetery, Charlotte, N. C. 

Some Unusual Notations Concerning this Ancient 

Burial Place, which Holds the Dust of Many 

Patriots of Fame in North Carolina 

By Violet G. Alexander. 

A complete record of this ancient burial ground is not ex- 
istant today, but it is known to be one of the oldest graveyards 
in Xorth Carolina, guarding in its bosom the dust of many 
patriots, men and women, with their little children, once 
prominent in the life of the county and the State. 

It has been called "the graveyard of the Presbyterian 
church" (Hunter's Sketches of Western North Carolina, 
pages 50-59) and there is probably a reason for this title, for 
in the early days of this community, what is today the First 
Presbyterian Church was the only church in Charlotte, and 
was built for all denominations ; but at that date the Presby- 
terian denomination was the only one in evidence, so after 
some years of so-called "general use" the Presbyterians paid 
a small debt of $1,500 and took over the church and beautiful 
oak grove occupying a city square. As was the custom in those 
early days, a graveyard was laid off adjacent to the church 
and was used as a common burying ground. This one lies im- 
mediately in the rear of the Presbyterian church occupying 
almost a city square and as it was laid off in connection with 
the church has frequently been called "the graveyard of the 
Presbyterian church." 

The "Old Cemetery," as it is now more generally called, 
was the first graveyard in Charlotte, the "Spratt Burying 
Ground" antedating it some years, was a private one outside 
the town limits in early days. The "Old Cemetery" was used 
as the "town" cemetery until a few years prior to the War 
Between the States, about 1854, the date of the first inter- 
ment in "Elm wood," the present large city cemetery, when, 


on account of its small size and crowded condition, it was 
closed for burials, and "Elmwood" was opened. 

Interments "by special permit" to allow members of fam- 
ilies to be buried by those of their name, have taken place as 
late as during the '70s. One of the last was that of Mrs. 
Sophie Graham Witherspoon, widow of Dr. John Wither- 
spoon and daughter of General Joseph Graham, a beautiful, 
gifted, and beloved woman, worthy of her splendid ancestry, 
who today has a host of relatives in Charlotte to "rise up 
and call her blessed." 

]STo complete list of those who have been buried here is 
available, as no record was kept, and the tombs of many have 
disappeared from age or neglect, but a partial list has been 
gleaned from the tombstones still standing, which contains the 
names of the following well-known and honored families: 
Alexander, Davidson, Graham, Witherspoon, Polk, Irwin, 
Carson, Orr, Harty, Clayton, Houston, Berryhill, Blair, Cald- 
well, Dunlap, Watson, Lowrie, Wilson, Gillespie, Elms, 
Trotter, Ray, Woodruff, Britton, McLelland, Howell, Sloan, 
Morrow, Cook, Lemmuel, Badger, Sterling, Jones, Owens, 
Thomas, McRee, Tredinick, Kearney, Caruth, Asbury, Hos- 
kins, Boyd, Springs, Laurey, Meacham, Dixon, McCombs, 
Edwards, Howie, Wheeler, and Dinkins. 

This incomplete list is one of the "honor-rolls" of Mecklen- 
burg County, recording the fair names of some of her bravest 
sons and loveliest daughters, who in their brief day acted well 
their part and laid the safe foundation of Church and State 
which is today the goodly heritage of Charlotte. Lack of 
space prevents individual mention of many whose names and 
lives are indelibly linked with North Carolina's history nor 
are we permitted to quote the quaint epitaphs and inscrip- 
tions found on many of the tombstones. 

Three men of considerable fame and who stand large in 
North Carolina history are buried in the "Old Cemetery" 
and deserve a more extended notice: Governor Nathaniel 
Alexander, Colonel Thomas Polk, and General George Gra- 


Governor Nathaniel Alexander is the only Governor Meck- 
lenburg County has ever had and his last resting place should 
be guarded with affection and pride, for he was honored and 
beloved by his contemporaries as is attested by the many 
positions of trust he filled. Foote, in his History of Western 
North Carolina, page 267, has the following: 

"Nathaniel Alexander, late Governor of North Carolina, 
was a native of Mecklenburg. He was a physician by profes- 
sion and was elected a member of the House of Commons 
from Mecklenburg in 1797, a member of the Senate in 1801, 
and reelected in 1802. In 1803-1805 he was a member of 
Congress, and in 1805 elected Governor of the State. He 
married a daughter of Colonel Thomas Polk. He left no 
children. He was a man of much personal worth and re- 
spectable talents. He died and lies buried in Charlotte." 

Governor Alexander was a son of Colonel Moses Alexander, 
a distinguished Revolutionary patriot, who also rendered 
large services to his country. Governor Alexander's wife 
(Margaret Polk), was also of patriotic blood, a woman of 
many fine traits and splendid characteristics, as is evidenced 
by the fact that she was one of that brilliant company of young 
ladies of Mecklenburg County who drew up and signed the 
famous patriotic Resolutions and sent them to Salisbury to 
the Committee in session there representing Rowan and 
Mecklenburg counties on May 8, 1776. For a full account of 
this patriotic deed read Hunter's Sketches of Western North 
Carolina, pages 144-145. It would appear from this action 
of the women of Mecklenburg County in May, 1776 — still 
some months prior to July 4, 1776 — that they were fired with 
the same fearless patriotism which prompted the men of 
Mecklenburg County to draw up and sign the Mecklenburg 
Declaration of Independence on the previous May 20, 1775 ! ! 

Governor Alexander and his wife are buried in the "Old 
Cemetery" and we find the following inscriptions on their 



To the Memory of 

Doc'r Nathaniel Alexander 

Late Governor of No. Carolina 

who departed this life on the 

7th day of March 1808 
in the 52nd year of his age. 

By his side lies buried his wife, with this inscription on 
her tomb: 


To the Memory of 

Margaret Alexander 

Wife of 

Doctor Alexander 

and daughter of 

Thomas and Susannah Polk 

who departed this life on the 

12th day of Sept. 1806 

in the 42nd year of her age. 

Turning now to Colonel Thomas Polk, we again quote from 
the historian, Foote, pages 5-10, who says: "Col. Thomas 
Polk and his wife Susanna Spratt Polk, lie buried in the 
graveyard of the village (Charlotte)." Colonel Polk was one 
of the ablest and most patriotic men Mecklenburg County — 
famous for her patriots — has ever borne. He was a member 
of the Colonial Assembly in 1771 and again in 1775. In 
1775 he was Colonel of the Mecklenburg Militia and issued 
orders to the Captains of the several "beats," or districts, to 
send two (2) delegates each to the Convention held in Char- 
lotte on its regular day of meeting, May 19, 1775. It was on 
this day, while the Convention was in session, that the news of 
the Battle of Lexington (Mass.) reached Charlotte, and the 
citizens, already aggrieved and incensed, became so indignant 
that Eesolutions were drawn up and signed on May 20, 1775, 
declaring independence of Great Britain. Colonel Polk was 
a delegate to the Convention and was one of the signers of the 
Declaration of Independence and had the honor by right of 
his official capacity as Colonel of the Militia, of reading the 
famous document publicly from the courthouse steps to the 


assembled citizens. Colonel Polk was appointed Colonel of 
the Fourth Regiment, Continental Troops by the Provincial 
Congress at Halifax, N". C, April 4, 1776. After the death 
of General William Lee Davidson at Cowan's Ford, he was 
appointed Brigadier-General in his stead. Mrs. Polk was a 
daughter of Thomas Spratt, one of the earliest settlers of 
western North Carolina, who was the first man to "cross the 
Yadkin River on wheels" — vehicles in those primitive days 
being rare ; he was one of the wealthiest and most influential 
citizens of Mecklenburg and it was at his home where the 
first court was held prior to the building of the first court- 
house. Mrs. Polk's sister, Ann Spratt, was the first white 
child born in Western North Carolina, and her grave is in the 
old "Spratt burying ground." Colonel and Mrs. Polk had an 
interesting family, many of whose descendents are prominent 
in the life of the community today. Hunter's Sketches of 
Western North Carolina, page 55, tells us that "he (Colonel 
Polk) died in 1793, full of years and full of honors, and his 
mortal remains repose in the graveyard of the Presbyterian 
Church, in Charlotte." 

Their son, William Polk, also a distinguished patriot, 
erected a memorial marble over the last resting place of his 
parents as a tribute of filial love and esteem. On it we read 
this beautiful testimony : 

Here lies inter'd 

The Earthly remains of 

General Thomas Polk 

and his wife 

Susanna Polk 

who lived many years together 

justly beloved and respected 

for their many virtues 

And universally regretted by all 

who had the pleasure of their 


Their Son 

William Polk 

As a token of his filial regard 

hath caused this stone to be 

Erected to their Memory. 


Some years ago it was the custom on each 20th of May for 
a "Special Committee" of citizens to visit the "Old Cemetery" 
and decorate Colonel Polk's grave with flags and flowers in 
loving memory of his patriotism as Signer and Public Reader 
of Mecklenburg's Declaration. Today this loyal tribute has 
fallen into disuse, but the writer hopes to see it revived and 
again become an annual custom. 

General George Graham is the third distinguished patriot 
buried in the "Old Cemetery" of whom we shall write. He 
was one of the most conspicuously brave and daring men 
North Carolina has ever produced, a man with a notable 
record for heroism as is strikingly recounted in the remarkable 
inscription on his tombstone. He was the son of Scotch-Irish 
parents, James and Mary Graham, and was born in Pennsyl- 
vania, December 5, 1752, moving to North Carolina with his 
widowed mother when about ten years of age. His mother 
was a woman of strong character and fine patriotism, aiding 
her countrymen in their struggle for freedom and giving to 
the cause two sons, General Joseph Graham and General 
George Graham. She is buried in the "Old Cemetery," near 
the grave of her son, George. He was one of the students of 
"Queen's Museum" (afterwards Liberty Hall) and was in 
Charlotte and present at the reading of the Mecklenburg 
Declaration, on May 20, 1775, as is attested by his affidavit 
given when he was 61 years of age. In May, 1775, when it 
was rumored that Captain James Jack, bearer of the Meck- 
lenburg Declaration to the Continental Congress in Philadel- 
phia, was about to be detained in Salisbury by two Tory law- 
yers, Dunn and Booties, young George Graham, then about 23 
years of age, "was one of the brave spirits who rode all night 
to Salisbury," seized the offenders and brought them both to 
Mecklenburg for trial. George Graham took an active part 
in the campaign against Cornwallis in 1780, and was one of 
the twelve (12) brave men who dared attack a foraging party 
of four hundred (400) British soldiers at Mclntire's Branch 
on the Beattie's Ford road, seven miles from Charlotte, com- 
pelling them to retreat with a considerable loss of dead and 


wounded. Scarcely has a braver or more daring deed been 
written in the annals of American history ! 

After the war George Graham was elected Major-General 
of the North Carolina Militia ; for many years he was Clerk 
of the Court of Mecklenburg County and he was a member of 
the House of Representatives during 1793-94-95, and was a 
member of the State Senate during 1703-04-05-06-07-08-09- 
10-11-12. Again we quote from Hunter's Sketches of West- 
ern North Carolina, page 99 : 

"He (George Graham) lived more than half a century on 
his farm two miles from Charlotte. He died on the 29th of 
March, 1826, in the 68th year of his age, and is buried in the 
graveyard of the Presbyterian Church in Charlotte." 

A more extended and interesting account of George Graham 
may be found in that valuable contribution to history, the life 
of his brother Joseph, entitled General Joseph Graham and 
His Revolutionary Papers, written by General Joseph Gra- 
ham's distinguished grandson, Hon. Win. A. Graham. 

The inscription on George Graham's tombstone is a grate- 
ful recognition by his fellow-countrymen of his splendid 
bravery in times of war and of his sterling qualities in times 
of peace, a most unusual and striking tribute ! 

As we stand by his grave we read : 


to the 

Memory of 

Major-General George Graham 

who died 

on the 29th of March, 1S26 

in the 68th year of his age. 

He lived more than half a century 

in the vicinity of 

This place and was a zealous and 

active defender of his 

Country's Rights 
/r 1 ~* in the 
Revolutionary War 
and one of the Gallant Twelve who 


dared to attack and actually 

drove 400 British troops 

at Mclntire's 

7 miles north of Charlotte 

on the 3rd of October, 1780. 

George Graham filled many high 

and responsible Public Trusts 

the duties of which he discharged 

with fidelity. 

He was the people's friend not their 


and uniformly engaged the 

Unlimited Confidence 

and respect of his 

Fellow Citizens. 

The site of the encounter with the British at Mclntire's has 
been marked by a boulder and inscription as a memorial to 
George Graham and the "Gallant Twelve." 

In the north and east corner of the "Old Cemetery" a 
space was set apart for the burial of the slaves who died in 
the homes of their masters. Many faithful men and women, 
with their little children, found sepulture here, near the last 
resting place of those they had loved and faithfully served, 
and who in return were held in affection and esteem. No 
tombstones mark these graves and most of them have disap- 
peared from sight, so today only a rolling greensward greets 
the eye of the casual passerby, giving no intimation that be- 
neath its turf lie the dust of many of an alien race who had 
found home and friends in Charlotte. 

Strangers and visitors to Charlotte often visit the "Old 
Cemetery" to search for graves of relatives, or to copy inscrip- 
tions, or, from a reverent love of studying at first-hand a 
people's history, to stroll through its shady walks under its 
ancient oak trees and read the quaint epitaphs. Unfortun- 
ately this historic burial place has not been put in "Perpetual 
Care," and the city gives only a small appropriation for its 
upkeep. A fine hedge has been planted around it and a 
splendid rock wall built on the front side. At its entrance 
on West Fifth Street we find a beautiful old wrought-iron 


gate of historic interest. The iron was mined by John Gra- 
ham, a son of General Joseph Graham, at one of the General's 
iron furnaces, "Rehoboth Furnace," in Lincoln County, and 
was made "by hand" by the slaves and is a beautiful specimen 
of their work. The gate was owned by various members of 
the family in succession and has been donated to the "Old 
Cemetery." This sacred "God's Acre" now lies close to the 
throbbing heart of the modern "Queen City," and is one of 
her priceless heritages from her early patriots, who bestowed 
on her her splendid history which is today her greatest 


The North Carolina Medical Society 
of 1799-1804 

By Marshall DeLancey Haywood. 

Author of "Governor William Tryon and His Administration in the 

Province of North Carolina, 1765-1771," "Lives of 

the Bishops of North Carolina," "Ballads 

of Courageous Carolinians," etc. 

The present splendid organization, known as The Medical 
Society of the State of North Carolina, had its origin, as 
many know, in the year 1849 ; but the fact is known to very 
few that just half a century earlier a society of almost the 
same name — The North Carolina Medical Society — 
was projected in the city of Raleigh by leaders of the medical 
profession then residing in the Old North State. 

By perusing old files of the Raleigh Register, now pre- 
served in the North Carolina State Library, we are able to 
catch glimpses of the earlier organization and its promoters. 
In the issue of that paper of November 12, 1799, it is stated 
that "it is contemplated by several Gentlemen of the Faculty, 
in the State, to form themselves into a Medical Society, and 
that they intend to convene for that purpose in this city some 
time in the month of December." The editor adds: "Such 
an association of scientific men must be highly useful to them- 
selves and to the community." Commenting still further it 
is editorially stated that such a society could be made ex- 
tremely useful "by the interchange of sentiments which it 
would occasion; by the discussion of medical subjects, which 
would awaken the spirit of inquiry; by directing the pur- 
suits of the pupil ; by giving sanction to the medical skill and 
ability of candidates for practice; by establishing among the 
Faculty a friendly intercourse; by enabling the community 
to distinguish the true Physician from the ignorant Pre- 
tender; and by discountenancing, and possibly suppressing 
the fatal and criminal practices of Quacks and Empyrics." 


The term "Faculty," above mentioned, we may add in 
passing, is not used in the same sense as we now generally 
understand that word, but is an obsolete term to denote a 
learned profession or occupation. 

In the Raleigh Register of December 10, 1799, Dr. Calvin 
Jones, "Secretary of Correspondence," published notice that 
the Medical Society would hold its meeting in Raleigh on the 
16th of the same month. It is briefly announced in the afore- 
mentioned newspaper of December 17th that the "Medical 
Society met this day [probably meaning the preceding day] 
when Dr. Hand was appointed to the chair, and the Society 
proceeded to business." 

The State Legislature convened in Raleigh about this time, 
and legally incorporated The North Carolina Medical So- 
ciety by Chapter 38 of the Private Laws of 1799. 

The list of officers was announced as follows in the Raleigh 
Register of December 24th: Richard Fenner, President; 
Nat Loomis and J. Clairborne, Vice-Presidents; Sterling 
Wheaton, James Webb, John J. Pasteur, and Jason Hand, 
Censors ; Calvin Jones, Corresponding Secretary ; William B. 
Hill, Recording Secretary ; and Cargill Massenburg, Treas- 
urer. This meeting adjourned, with a resolution that the 
next annual convention should be held in Raleigh on Decem- 
ber 1, 1800. It met at the appointed time, and elected as new 
members Drs. John C Osborne, Thomas Mitchel, John Sib- 
ley, Armistead, and French. A success- 
ful examination before the Censors was passed by Charles 
Smith. Quite a number of essays was read, and discussions 
were participated in by many of those present. The State 
was then divided by the Society into medical districts, and 
the physicians residing in these districts were urged to hold 
periodical meetings. Dr. James Webb, of Hillsborough, read 
a paper on the causes and prevention of gout and rheumatism. 
Prizes in money were offered by the Society for certain quan- 
tities of plants and medicinal articles produced in North 
Carolina, as follows: fox-glove, opium, rhubarb, castor oil, 


and senna. Cholera infantum was fixed upon as the special 
subject of study for the succeeding annual meeting, and 
Drs. Pasteur, Wheaton, Loomis, and Hand were appointed 
essayists for the said forthcoming meeting, to be held in the 
year following, with liberty to choose the subjects of their 
dissertations. Before this meeting of 1800 adjourned, officers 
were elected as follows : John C. Osborne, President ; Thomas 
Mitchel and Richard Fenner, Vice-Presidents; James Webb 
and John Sibley, Censors ; Sterling Wheaton, Recording Sec- 
retary; Calvin Jones, Corresponding Secretary; and Cargill 
Massenburg, Treasurer. 

The next annual meeting duly convened in the city of 
Raleigh on Monday, December 1, 1801, and held a three-day 
session. The newspaper account says that a a considerable 
number of respectable Physicians from various parts of the 
State were present." The president, Dr. Osborne, delivered 
the opening address which was editorially described in the 
Raleigh Register as "a cursory narrative of the progress of 
the science of Medicine, from the earliest ages." An "in- 
genious practical treatise on General Dropsy" was read by 
Dr. Wheaton. A committee was appointed to take steps to- 
wards establishing a botanical garden, for the cultivation of 
medicinal plants, and it was also resolved to found a medical 
library. The officers of the preceding year were reelected, 
with the exception of the fact that Dr. Clairborne succeeded 
Dr. Sibley as a Censor. The subject of infantile diseases 
was designated as a special study for the next annual meeting. 

In the newspapers of November, 1802, a call for the Society 
to meet on December 1st, was issued by Dr. Calvin Jones, 
Corresponding Secretary ; but, if the meeting took place, as it 
probably did, the present writer can find no record of its pro- 

The annual meeting at Raleigh, on December 3, 1803, 
brought a new accession of members in the persons of Drs. 
Robert Williams (of Pitt), John McFarland, John McAden, 
Elias Hawes, Hugh McCullough, and Thomas Henderson. 
No change of officers was made except the election of Dr. 


Williams as a Censor, vice Dr. Clairborne. The details of this 
meeting are not given in the newspaper report. 

The Society met in Raleigh on December 10, 1801, re- 
elected all officers of the preceding year, with the exception of 
Treasurer — Dr. Hawes succeeding Dr. Massenburg — and re- 
solved to hold its next meeting in the town of Chapel Hill, 
the seat of the University of North Carolina, on the 5th of 
July, 1805. Whether this meeting took place the present 
writer is unable to say, nor can he find any further record of 
proceedings of this Society in the old newspaper files or else- 

To illustrate how thoroughly abreast of their time these 
physicians in the North Carolina Medical Society were, it 
may be recalled that while Dr. Jenner's experiments, in Eng- 
land, on the subject of vaccination against smallpox were still 
in progress the North Carolina practitioners were making a 
study of his dissertations and applying the process to their 
patients. Jenner's first published treatise on the subject ap- 
peared in England in 1798, and his experiments were not 
completed till several years later. Yet as early as 1800 Dr. 
Calvin Jones published in the Raleigh Register an announce- 
ment that soon he hoped to begin the treatment in North 
Carolina. A long treatise on this subject, from the pen of 
Dr. Jones will be found in the Raleigh Register of April 14, 
1801, in which he made reference to an announcement on the 
subject, by him, in the preceding year, but stated that he had 
decided to postpone the treatment until further experiments 
had been perfected in Europe and America. He says : 

"The public have been taught to expect, from my advertise- 
ments of last year, that I shall, in the ensuing month, com- 
mence inoculation for the Smallpox; but I am prevented 
from doing this by the consideration of what is due from me 
to those who would have been my patients, whose ease and 
safety my own inclinations and the honor of my profession 
bind me to consult." 

Further on in this communication Dr. Jones refers to emi- 


nent practitioners in England, Scotland, Austria, and France, 
who had successfully used the treatment, and adds : 

"Dr. Mitchell, of New York, and Dr. Waterhouse, of New 
Hampshire, have both received the matter of the disease from 
England, and propose inoculating early in the present season, 
so that we may expect it will soon become common in the 
United States." 

The practice of vaccination, we may add, came into use in 
parts of North Carolina other than the vicinity of Raleigh 
about the time the above experiments were being made by Dr. 
Jones and his associates. The historical researches of Miss 
Adelaide L. Fries have recently brought to light the fact that 
in the old Moravian community of Salem, North Carolina, 
eighty persons (mostly children) were successfully treated in 
the Summer of 1802, by Dr. Samuel Vierling, the town phy- 
sician, for whose use the parents in that place ("house-fathers" 
and "house-mothers") had obtained, by a special messenger 
whom they had sent to "a certain doctor in Raleigh," speci- 
mens of the cow-pox virus, with instructions for its proper use. 
When Dr. Vierling undertook this work at Salem he refused 
to say what compensation he would demand, as he did not 
know what trouble and expense the process would entail. He 
did state, however, that he would do the work as cheaply as 
possible ; and we must credit him with keeping this promise to 
the letter, as the record concludes with the remark that Dr. 
Vierling "declined to accept any pay for his services." 

Returning to the subject of the North Carolina Medical 
Society, little remains to be added. As already noted, we can 
find no record of its meetings after 1804. We may state in 
conclusion, however, that as the Society had made a collec- 
tion of natural history specimens, etc., and as Dr. Calvin 
Jones was its secretary ; and furthermore, as Dr. Jones turned 
over a "museum of artificial and natural curiosities" to the 
University of North Carolina, about twenty years later, on 
the eve of his removal to Tennessee, this gift to the University 
was in all probability the last remaining possession of the de- 
funct North Carolina Medical Society. 


Proceedings of the North Carolina Society 
Daughters of the Revolution 

Held in Edenton, October 24-26, 1916 

At the annual meeting of the State Society D. R., held in 
Raleigh in 1915, on motion of the Vice-Regent, Mrs. Mar- 
shall Williams, it was voted to hold the annual meeting of 
191 G in some of our historic old towns where the Society has 
a Chapter. So when Mrs. Patrick Matthew, Regent of the 
Penelope Barker Chapter, extended an invitation to the 
Daughters to visit Edenton, the invitation was accepted with 
delightful anticipation and without deliberation, for Edenton 
of all towns in the State is very near to the hearts of the 
Daughters of the Revolution. It was in studying the history 
of this Revolutionary hot-bed that they were inspired to 
commemorate the Edenton Tea Party of 1774 with a hand- 
some bronze tablet, which was placed in the rotunda of the 
State Capitol at Raleigh in October, 1908. In order to raise 
funds for that purpose the North Carolina Booklet was 
launched in May, 1901, at the suggestion of Miss Martha 
Helen Haywood, who, with Mrs. Hubert Haywood, was one 
of the first editors ; and the Penelope Barker Chapter was the 
first Chapter organized by the North Carolina Daughters. 

The Twentieth Annual Meeting of the North Carolina So- 
ciety Daughters of the Revolution was held in the form of a 
pilgrimage to the historic "Borough Towne" of Edenton, 
variously called "ye Towne in Queen Anne's Creek," "ye 
Towne in Mattermacomock Creek," and "Port of Roanoke" in 
the oldest records. The Penelope Barker Chapter filled the 
role of hostess most charmingly October 24, 25 and 26. 

The delegates arrived at noon Tuesday, October 24, and 
were met at the station by members of the Chapter and Mr 
Richard D. Dixon, representing his uncle, Dr. Richard Dil- 
lard (who was unavoidably absent) and driven to their desti- 
nations. That afternoon the gentlemen of the Historical 
Society gave a sail in honor of the visiting Daughters. The 


weather was ideal and the famous Bay of Edenton, that has 
been so often compared to the Bay of Naples, never looked 
fairer than it did under the mellow rays of the radiant autumn 
sun, while Mattermacomock Creek was a veritable reproduc- 
tion of fairyland with the rich tints of the changing forests, 
the waving Spanish moss and the vivid reflections borne on 
the smooth surface of its limpid waters. The dying of a 
perfect day and the brilliant afterglow amid such surround- 
ings were watched intently by the guests, all of whom, save 
two, were enjoying the attractions of Edenton for the first 

On landing, the party strolled to the home of Mr. Frank 
Wood, where they were entertained at tea by Miss Caroline 
W. Coke, Vice-Regent of the Penelope Barker Chapter. In 
the grounds of Mr. Wood's home, facing the court house green, 
stood the residence of Mrs. Elizabeth King, where the Eden- 
ton Tea Party was held, October 25, 1774, the site of which 
has been marked by Mr. Frank Wood with a pedestal mounted 
with a bronze tea pot. China that was owned by the distin- 
guished President of the Tea Party, the stately Penelope 
Barker, was used, and delicious tea cakes, made from the 
recipe she had so frequently found useful, were served. On 
departing, each guest was presented with a typewritten recipe, 
rolled and tied with buff and blue ribbon, the Society's colors. 

The recipe is : 

Penelope Barker Tea Cakes. — 1 quart flour, % cup but- 
ter and lard, mixed ; 2 large cups brown sugar, 3 eggs, 1 
rounded teaspoonful soda. Beat eggs together well, adding 
sugar; next, soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoonful warm water 
(not hot) . Flavor with vanilla. Lastly add quickly the flour, 
into which butter and lard have been well worked. Roll out 
as soft as possible and cut. Bake in a hot oven. 

The parlor was tastefully decorated with trailing vines and 
pink roses. Miss Tillie Bond, the nearest living relative of 
Penelope Barker, was a guest of honor. 

On Tuesdav evening the Daughters met in the Colonial 


court house, which had been appropriately dressed with yellow 
flowers and banners, carrying out the colors of the Daughters 
of the Revolution, Dr. Dillard presiding. The address of 
welcome, was delivered by the Regent of the Penelope Barker 
Chapter : 

Mme. Regent, Daughters of the Revolution,, Ladies and Gen- 

The first page of American history was written when 
Columbus appealed to the Court of Spain for a fleet with 
which to set sail upon that long, perilous voyage which termi- 
nated in his planting the Cross upon the Island of San Salva- 
dor, 1492. 

From that time to the establishment of the Sir Walter 
Raleigh Colony on Roanoke Island to the settlement of the 
Chowan Precinct was but a short chain of events, but perfect 
in continuity. 

Here, where the giants of the forest stood deep-rooted on 
the shores of this grand body of water, which is now known as 
the Albemarle Sound, flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, con- 
necting the Old World with the New, was "Ye Little Towne 
on Queen Anne's Creek." With but a handful of people it 
set up its own government with its laws, court, customs, 
church, and thus early laid the foundation for an important 
centre of trade. 

Surrounded by the Red Men, who soon became friends, 
they reduced to cultivation fertile fields which afforded the 
barter for the vessels which sailed into the harbor. 

Without recorded explanation the name was changed to 
"Port of Roanoke," and here increased high life of Church 
and State, industries grew, wise patriots became known 
abroad, the capital of the State was here located, laws made, 
and her fame spread like the branches of the grandeur of the 
forest primeval. 

Her commerce increased, ships multiplied in numbers, and 
the Old World wondered at her great possession. 

In 1722 Governor Charles Eden died, and from that date 


the name of the town has been Edenton, thus convincing us 
that it was named in memory of that distinguished statesman. 

After years of servitude and discontent, with no represen- 
tation in parliament, the cries of resentment grew pitiful, but 
the determination of resistance came from the women of 
Edenton in that document, The Edenton Tea Party, which 
shook the foundation of British rule in America, and sounded 
the first alarm at the court of St. James. Women have 
always been powerful, but the mighty stroke of independence 
was wielded by the pens of the immortal fifty-one who signed 
their names to that document, which was the key-note of the 
War of the Revolution. 

So, Mme. Regent and Daughters of the Revolution, we bid 
you welcome to the home of our ancestors, the land of King 
Hoyle, the last sovereign ruler of the Choanokes, a man whose 
lovely character made the white people live in harmony with 
his tribe, and who gave his two sons to be taught to receive 
Christianity, for in his savage breast there beat a heart which 
knew that a greater God than their Great Spirit was Lord 
over the world and he wanted his sons to take up their cross 
and follow Him. 

With your advent in our midst you receive the freedom of 
Edenton, and to one and all we bid you come to our houses, 
partake of our bounty, welcome you to our firesides, make you 
our friends, for be it ever so lowly "There's no place like 

The following response was made by Miss Mary Hilliard 
Hinton, the State Regent : 

Officers and Daughters of the Revolution: 

It is a pleasure inexpressible for the North Carolina So- 
ciety Daughters of the Revolution to assemble for the Twen- 
tieth Annual Meeting in this historic "Borough Town," 
variously referred to in the oldest records as the "Towne in 
Queen Anne's Creek," the "Towne in Mattermacomock 
Creek," "Port of Roanoke," and later permanently and so 
appropriately named Edenton, though it must be admitted 


the serpent is conspicuous through absence. It is a joyous 
privilege indeed to acknowledge the gracious words of this 
very cordial welcome, and to you, Madam Regent, and the 
Penelope Barker Chapter, we extend our warmest expres- 
sions of appreciation and gratitude. 

Particularly dear to the hearts of the Daughters of the 
Revolution are Edenton and the Penelope Barker Chapter, 
for it was the noble history of this fair town which first in- 
spired this Society to commemorate the "Edenton Tea 
Party" by placing a handsome bronze tablet in the State 
Capitol at Raleigh, the first to adorn that stately edifice, and 
as a way to raise the means necessary the North Carolina 
Booklet was launched, May 10, 1901. In every important 
event in our past since then Edenton has been prominently 
represented, and some of the Booklet's most valuable con- 
tributions have been from the pen of her versatile writers, 
even to the youngest generation. The Penelope Barker Chap- 
ter has been our heart's pride, because it was the first Chapter 
organized, and its record can only arouse interest and stimu- 
late ambition in historic research and patriotic achievements. 
It is an honor to have such a band of members respond to its 
roll call. 

As we gather here today, some visitors for the first time to 
this Revolutionary hot-bed and centre of culture and refine- 
ment, naturally our thoughts revert to those stirring times 
that shook a great kingdom and a vast continent to their very 
foundations. We feel the sacred presence of the famous 
statesmen and the brave, fascinating women who moved in 
that long ago, for here they lived, labored and won laurels for 
the Patriot Cause that can never fade. These beautiful, 
historic buildings of the Colonial period have been rendered 
more interesting from the fact that they have resounded with 
the echoes of their voices and the fall of their footsteps. They 
pass before us in mental review. Foremost in that distant 
throng are Judge James Iredell, who, by his letters, has be- 
queathed to posterity such vivid delineations of the social life, 
Colonial and Revolutionary, of Edenton; Governor Samuel 


Johnston, the builder of "Hayes," and his sisters, Hannah and 
Isabella ; Joseph Hewes ; James Wilson, of Pennsylvania ; 
Thomas Barker, and his fair spouse, the immortal Penelope, 
and that beauty and belle, Betsy Barker, whose likeness 
present-day iconoclasts wish to confound with that of her 
noted step-mother, but whose separate portraits exist in 
middle Carolina, one of the President of the Tea Party 
loaned to the Hall of History at Raleigh and the other in 
the home of a descendant at Ridgeway, painted, it seems, by 
the same artist, but showing not one trace of resemblance. 
Each of the fifty-one signers of the Tea Party stand forth as 
clearly as though the mist of intervening years had vanished. 
Many, many, many others pass in the distinguished assemb- 
lage. We offer our homage to their hallowed memories and 
imbibe inspiration to aspire to higher ideals and the perform- 
ance of deeds worth while. 

Of all the towns of North Carolina none have preserved 
that ideal, restful Colonial atmosphere, all too rare in this age 
of perpetual unrest and dangerous commercialism, as has this 
sweet haven of rest, and nowhere else can be brewed as delic- 
ious a cup of tea, which proves that the fifty-one ladies that 
met at Mrs. King's house on the Court House Green one hun- 
dred and forty-two years ago tomorrow, understood the full 
meaning of self-denial ! To Edenton we come to receive fresh 
impetus to proceed with extensive plans for a future of rose- 
tinted promise. 

Six and a half years have passed since you entrusted to 
your Regent the highest office in the gift of the Society. It 
has been a pleasure to serve the order that is closest to her 
heart, even though in so doing she has been overworked with 
the requirements of the office, in addition to the demands of 
the Booklet, therefore she fully realizes her shortcomings 
and at all times, in glancing over the past, she trusts you will 
do so with kind indulgence. 

During that space of time five Chapters, the Bloomsbury 
at Raleigh, the Roanoke at Windsor, the General Francis 
Nash at Hillsboro, the Mary Slocumb at Faison, and the 


Thomas Robeson at Red Springs, have been organized, and 
two Junior Chapters, the Virginia Dare and Ensinore, at 
Elizabeth City, have been formed. The set of one hundred 
and nine lantern slides, most of which are colored, and the 
lecture, "Stories from North Carolina History," have been 
made and presented in Raleigh, Elizabeth City, Washington, 
Edenton, Windsor, and Winston-Salem. Eight tablets have 
been erected by the Chapters. A room has been furnished by 
the Chapters in Elizabeth City, called the "Virginia Dare 
Room." The chart and key of St. Paul's Churchyard has 
been presented this historic church, the painstaking work of 
the Penelope Barker Chapter. Twenty gold medals have been 
presented in the public schools in towns in North Carolina. 
Miss Catherine Albertson's book, "In Ancient Albemarle," 
has been published by the Society. Every annual meeting of 
the General Society, save that at Brooklyn in 1915, has been 
attended by delegates from North Carolina. The Booklet 
has been published and some brilliant social functions are 
some of the matters that have engaged the hearts and hands 
of the North Carolina Daughters. 

Today the North Carolina Society is as loyal to the parent 
Society as she was in the pioneer days — aye, more so. We 
stand for the things she advocates and we are happy and con- 
tent in being under her fold. Loyalty is one of the noblest 
traits that has been implanted in the nature of man. Would 
we be worthy of the great heroes whose deeds we commem- 
orate were we untrue to the cause we have espoused \ Our 
ranks are constantly being strengthened by the best, and we 
rejoice that we can face the future with confidence and hope 
of greater achievement. 

To our beloved founder, Mrs. Fannie DeBerniere Hooper 
Whitaker, we turn in loving remembrance, and we feel North 
Carolina has been richer for the influence she wielded and 
her memory continues to exert. 

To the officers and members of the North Carolina Society 
your Regent extends her sincerest thanks for this list of good 


works and for the whole-hearted support you have bestowed in 
times of labor and toil, in times of clouds and sunshine. 
Each of you has become dearer for the associations which 
shall be cherished always. 

An address, giving the historical facts of this building, 
around which has centered so much of the past of Edenton, 
from Dr. Dillard, was enjoyed by the audience. The interior 
is modeled after the ancient basilica, and here the House of 
Burgesses assembled and guided the affairs of the Colony of 
North Carolina. Mrs. E. E. Moffitt, Honorary Regent of the 
North Carolina Society D. R., also talked on subjects of vital 
importance for the preservation of our State history. 

October 25th — the anniversary of the Tea Party — dawned 
bright and clear. In celebration of that event four tablets 
were unveiled by the Penelope Barker Chapter. By 10 
o'clock the citizens of Edenton had gathered in St. Paul's 
Church, the school children had marched from the Academy, 
bearing the banners of the Chapter, which on entering were 
placed at the church door, and the Daughters of the Revolu- 
tion had taken the seats reserved for them along the main 
aisle, to take part in the impressive service that was con- 
ducted in the absence of the beloved Rector, Reverend Robert 
Brent Drane, D.D., by the Reverend B. F. Huske, Rector of 
Christ Church, New Bern, North Carolina. Here was un- 
veiled by Richard Norfleet Hines, Jr., the marble tablet in 
the rear of the church to the signers of the "Test," who com- 
posed the vestry of St. Paul's at that time, renouncing alle- 
giance to the crown. The text of the document and the names 
of the signers are engraved on the memorial in black letters. 
Mr. Huske' s address was most interesting, and it is regretted 
by the Daughters that it was almost entirely extemporaneous. 

From the church the throng repaired to the home of Judge 
James Iredell, where the marble tablet in the great outside 
brick chimney, the gift through the Daughters of the Revolu- 
tion of the present owners and occupants, Mr. and Mrs. Wil- 
liam T. Gordon, was unveiled by William Elliott and Ethel 


McMullan. Colonel J. Bryan Grimes, President of the 
North Carolina Society of the Sons of the Revolution, made 
the speech of presentation. He spoke of the man, his life and 
splendid services to the State and the Union, of his influence 
on the Supreme Court of the United States and the Constitu- 
tion. It was here that James Wilson, signer of the National 
Declaration of Independence from Pennsylvania, visited, and 
here he breathed his last. His remains were interred in the 
burying-ground at "Hayes" and later — several years ago — 
were removed to Philadelphia. Dr. Dillard accepted in his 
happiest manner for the town of Edenton : 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Prehistoric man built cairns or heaps of stone to commem- 
orate important events ; the ancient Egyptians emblazoned in 
hieroglyphics the deeds of their illustrious Pharoahs upon 
the faces of the everlasting pyramids; the history of the 
ancient Aztecs is written amid the picturesque mines of 
Mitla and Cholula, and Joshua set up twelve stones at Jordan, 
so that when the children should ask their fathers in times to 
come, "What mean ye by these stones ? ye shall answer them 
that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the 
covenant of the Lord." And so on through all the ages, man- 
kind has seen fit to mark in brass, or bronze, or graven stone, 
whatever was valuable for posterity— they are the hall-marks 
and symbols of immortality. We have had presented us today 
a tablet in honor of Edenton's most illustrious son ; like Socra- 
tes he was "the perfection of earth's mental beauty, and the 
personification of all virtue" ; the fairest star that glitters in 
the firmanent of our history ! And now, in behalf of the citi- 
zens of Edenton, and the Sons and Daughters of the Revolu- 
tion, this tablet is most graciously accepted. Here let it stand, 
a perpetual inspiration to noble deeds, and virtuous actions ! 
To the souls of fire let it give more fire, and to those who are 
slothful, let it give a might more than is man's ! For who 
shall say that fame is but an empty name ! 


"In thinking of the honored dead 
The youth shall rise from slothful bed 
And now, with uplifted hand and heart, 
Like him to act a noble part." 

At the Academy a bronze tablet to the Founders of the 
original Academy, on the exterior, near the entrance of the 
stately, pillared new structure, is placed, which was unveiled 
by Caroline Privott, daughter of a trustee. Colonel J. Bryan 
Grimes presenting, and Mr. J. Norfleet Pruden accepting on 
behalf of the Board of Trustees. Colonel Olds also addressed 
the throng, speaking of the duty that rested upon the children, 
the future makers of Edenton and the keepers of her splendid 

To the court house the children marched, followed by the 
audience, to witness the presentation by Colonel C. S. Vann, 
who, in speaking, paid a high tribute to womanhood, and the 
acceptance of Mr. F. W. Hobbs, Clerk of the Court, of the 
bronze tablet, unveiled by daughters of county officers, Fran- 
ces Brownley Evans, Elsie Goodwin, Cornelia Harrell, and 
Sadie Hobbs, on the exterior of the edifice to the fifty-one 
signers of the Edenton Tea Party. 

Mr. Hobbs said : 

Ladies and Gentlemen: . 

Although I am no speechmaker I wish to assure you that 
it affords me a peculiar pleasure to accept the tablet commem- 
orative of one of the most important historical events recorded 
upon the annals, embracing the history of our grand old town, 
county, and commonwealth. 

The Daughters of the Revolution deserve the highest com- 
mendation at our hands for the splendid work they have ac- 
complished in placing tablets here and there in our town, 
which Col. R. B. Creecy said was the most historical of all 
the towns in the State. These matters of history will always 
be recognized as most important, for frequently they are the 
source of inspiration to succeeding generations, and I believe 
to have them carved upon enduring metal, or other lasting 


material, and placed where they can, on all public occasions, 
be seen, will have a tendency to elevate the ideals of our citi- 
zenship, make them more patriotic, and lovers of our grand 
old State and glorious Nation. 

I thank these ladies for their manifested interest in these 
matters, and again state with great pleasure I accept, on be- 
half of the Board of Commissioners and the citizenship of the 
County of Chowan, this splendid tablet which commemorates 
such glorious courage and patriotism of our women of the 
Revolutionary War. To read these resolutions is enough to 
make us proud of our women of this stirring period of our 
country's history, and to make us glad that we are to the man- 
ner born. 

We welcome to the county the North Carolina Society 
Daughters of the Revolution, and have placed at their dis- 
posal this court house, within whose walls have presided and 
pleaded statesmen and men who were giants in their profes- 
sion and times, honored and esteemed by their fellow country- 

The "Resolves" signed two hundred and forty-two years 
ago and the names of the patriotic signers are given thereon. 

On the conclusion of these instructive and enjoyable exer- 
cises the Daughters of the Revolution were cordially invited 
by Dr. Dillard to visit "Beverly Hall." Here amid the rare 
plants, flowers and ornamentation of his Italian garden, and 
in the library, where each recorded her name in the guest 
book, time flew, and soon the Daughters were rushed off to 
charming luncheons with Mrs. William D. Pruden and Miss 
Sophie Martin Wood, at historic "Hayes," conceded by Vir- 
ginia authorities to be the most interesting home in the South. 

The afternoon was devoted to the transaction of business 
in the court house, Miss Hinton presiding. Reports from the 
State officers and Chapter Regents were read and plans dis- 
cussed for entertaining the General Society in Raleigh in 
April, 1917. Twenty-five dollars for the publication of the 
minutes of this meeting in the Booklet were donated by the 


visiting delegates, and it was voted to have a handsome silk 
banner made this winter, such as the other State Societies 
possess. This will bear the State flag and will be adorned 
with the hornet's nest, emblems of the Edenton Tea Party, etc. 
Seventeen new members have joined during the year 1916, 
and thirty-two more are filling out their papers. Two new 
Chapters, the Mary Slocumb at Faison, of which Miss Geor- 
gia Hicks is Regent, and the Colonel Thomas Robeson, at 
Red Springs, have been organized, while another of young 
girls is being formed. A motion was carried that the Society 
request Colonel Charles Earle Johnson to reprint the "Life 
and Letters of James Iredell," by McRee, now out of print. 
This cast such light on the grave questions of the Colonial, 
Revolutionary, and post-Revolutionary periods and on the 
delightful social life of Edenton of Judge Iredell's day that 
it is needed in our public and private libraries. 


The North Carolina Society Daughters of the Revolution 
have, during the year 1915-1916, done substantial, good work. 
The Society has maintained its high standard of patriotic zeal 
and worth-while accomplishments. 

Quite a number of energetic, ambitious members have been 
added and they are already taking up the work of the Society 
with vigor and zeal. It behooves those of us who have been 
members for some years not to lag behind these new members 
in zeal; and, in fact, we should endeavor to inspire and en- 
courage them to the most energetic service. Social, domestic, 
and often literary duties are pressing upon us and the tempta- 
tion is to leave the hardest work to the most willing ones ; but, 
remembering that we are descended from the men who took 
upon themselves unselfish, faithful service to their country, 
we cannot be faithless to the trust of ours, to keep their mem- 
ory fresh and green, to erect from time to time tablets and 
memorials so that heroes and heroic deeds may not be forgot- 


ten ; and, above all, to inspire in the present generation a love 
for their country and their country's heroes. 

Perhaps the most important work that our North Carolina 
Society has done and is doing is the publication of the North 
Carolina Booklet, begun some years ago by Miss Martha 
Haywood and Mrs. Hubert Haywood and now continued by 
Miss Mary Hinton and Mrs. E. E. Moffitt. The most val- 
uable historical papers are, in the Booklet, collected in 
tangible, enduring form; well known authorities give accu- 
rate, carefully written articles ; and, under Miss Hinton's 
wise editorship, the North Carolina Booklet has become a 
storehouse of information, and, to the Booklet, scholars, 
teachers, and students are constantly referring for facts of 
historical importance. The recent series of articles on the 
North Carolina Secretaries of the Navy have received more 
attention and have been most favorably reviewed by the press 
in different sections of the State. 

During the recent Convention of the General Society, held 
last May in New York, the North Carolina Society was repre- 
sented by Miss Hinton, Regent ; Mrs. Paul Lee, Correspond- 
ing Secretary; Mrs. Marshall Williams, Vice-Regent, and 
Mrs. C. C. Phillips of New York. The invitation was ex- 
tended by the North Carolina Society through Miss Hinton 
to have the General Society hold its meeting in Raleigh in 
1917. The invitation was accepted and Raleigh will be 
hostess some time next year, either in April or May, to a dis- 
tinguished gathering of women. There has been appointed by 
Miss Hinton a Ways and Means Committee to arrange for 
expenses incident to this meeting, and plans are being formu- 
lated as to the program of entertainment, etc. 

Mrs. Coving-ton then quoted from The Patriot, a part of 
Miss Hinton's report, read at the New York Convention in 
April, 1916. 

The report from Mrs. Chas. Lee Smith, Treasurer, was 
read, showing receipts amounting to $164.33, and disburse- 


ments amounting to $118.59, leaving a balance on hand of 
$45.74. It was moved and carried that this report be ac- 

Miss Hinton, Regent, and editor of the Booklet, reported 
for volumes XIII, XIV, XV, extending from July, 1913, to 
July, 1916. Moved and carried that this report be approved. 

The Registrar, Miss Sarah W. Ashe, reports these new 
members : 

Mrs. Fannie Yarborough Bickett, Louisburg, X. C. (wife 
of Attorney-General [now Governor] Hon. Walter Bickett). 

Mrs. Mary Davis Holt, Burlington, X. C. (wife of Mr. 
Erwin Allen Holt). 

Miss Elizabeth Ireland, Faison, X. C. 

Mrs. Mary Lou Brown Hill, Warsaw, X. C. (wife of Mr. 
William L.Hill). 

Mrs. Annie H. Witherington, Faison, X. C. (wife of Mr. 

B. B. Witherington). 

Mrs. Xyda H. Weatherby, Faison, X. C. (wife of Mr. 
Carleton E. Weatherby). 

Miss Winifred Faison, Faison, X. C. 

Miss Georgia Hicks, Faison, X. C. 

Mrs. Janie Hicks Phillips, Xew York City (wife of Mr. 

C. C. Phillips). 

Miss Louise Phillips, Xew York City. 

Mrs. Lila H. Hines, Faison, X. C. (wife of C. Shaw 

Mrs. Mary Franklin Pass Fearington, Winston-Salem, 
X. C. (wife of Dr. J. P. Fearington). 

Miss Faith Fearington, Winston-Salem, X. C. 

Mrs. Elizabeth R. F. Croom, Wilmington, X. C. (wife of 
Mr. Avery Burr Croom) . 

Miss Mary Perrett, Faison, X. C. 

Mrs. Ruth Huntington Moore, Raleigh, X. C. 

Mrs. Annie Ramsey, Raleigh, X. C. (wife of Dr. George 
J. Ramsey). 

Report from Mrs. Matthew, Regent of the Penelope Bar- 


ker Chapter, which report, she said, was written on bronze 
and marble, the four tablets unveiled today bespeaking the 
work of this chapter. A fine work in necrology has also been 
done. It was moved and carried that this report be accepted. 
Report from Mrs. I. M. Meekins, Regent of the Sir Walter 
Raleigh Chapter: 


Miss Catherine Albertson, former Regent of the Sir Walter 
Raleigh Chapter D. R., resigned her office as Regent last 
October, as her duties as Principal of the High School prevent 
her from carrying on the work of the Chapter. 

Mrs. I. M. Meekins, Vice-President, then became Regent. 

The pupils of the High School manifested unusual interest 
in the competition for the medal offered by the State Society 
D. R. last spring. The subject chosen was "The Life of 
John Harvey," and the medal was won by Miss Ida Owens, a 
member of the Senior Class of '16. 

Miss Albertson presented the medal to Miss Owens on 
Thursday night, June 1st, during the graduating exercises of 
the High School Senior Class, and took occasion to make a 
short address to the audience, commemorating the services of 
John Harvey to the State of North Carolina. 

On June 11th, a meeting of the Sir Walter Raleigh, Ense- 
nore, and Virginia Dare Chapters was held at the residence of 
Mrs. I. M. Meekins, for the purpose of arranging for a D. R. 
float to take part in a parade on July 4th, in which the various 
civic and patriotic organizations of the town were asked to 

July Fourth a seven passenger automobile was decorated 
with the D. R. colors and filled with members of the Junior 
D. R., dressed in Colonial costumes. 

The three D. R. Chapters still hope to erect the memorial 
fountain to Virginia Dare, and as the Juniors grow to woman- 
hood to erect in our county the memorial tablets to preserve 
her history. 



The Bloomsbury Chapter D. R. was formed April 9, 1910. 
Although young in age it has, under the leadership of Mrs. 
Hubert Haywood, its Regent, marked several historical 

The first one being the site of the old town of Bloomsbury, 
or Wake Court House. 

The memorial was a bronze tablet placed on a natural 
boulder of Wake County granite, and located at the corner of 
Boylan Avenue and Morgan Street. 

The second : The Chapter presented to the City of Raleigh 
a beautiful bronze tablet to the memory of Col. Joel Lane. It 
was placed on the left hand side of the entrance to the City 
Municipal Building. 

In the near future the Chapter expects to mark Try on' s 
Road (Ramsgate Road). This road was used by Try on on 
his march against the Regulators at Alamance. It is situated 
south of Raleigh. 

Nearly seventy dollars is in the treasury for this purpose. 
Several of the members have contributed to this cause, and 
forty-six dollars and thirty-five cents ($46.35) were made 
from a moving picture benefit. 

The Chapter decided that it would take the noted women 
of North Carolina during the Revolutionary period as the 
topic for this year. 

In addition to the regular business meetings held during the 
year there were two especially enjoyable occasions. 

On New Year's day the Chapter met with Mrs. James E. 
Shepherd. After the business of the Chapter was dispatched 
several historical places and noted women of the Colonial 
period were discussed. During the afternoon Mrs. Shepherd 
served delightful refreshments typical of the New Year. 

Washington's birthday was celebrated this year at the home 
of Mrs. Geo. P. Pell. 


The decorations of the house, the papers read and the songs 
sung were all suggestive of the occasion. 

Then followed delightful refreshments which carried out 
the patriotic idea. Grace H. Bates, 

Secy Bloomsbury Chapter D. R. 

Report from the Gen. Francis Nash Chapter, Miss Rebecca 
Cameron, Regent, was read and approved. This Chapter has 
done no active work in the past year, but has maintained or- 
ganized membership. With infinite sorrow they report the 
death of one of their beloved members, Mrs. Annie Ruffin 
Collins (Mrs. George P. Collins). 

Miss Georgia Hicks, Regent of the Mary Slocumb Chap- 
ter, read the report from this Chapter : 


The Mary Slocumb Chapter was organized March 20, 
1916, in the home of Mrs. Marshall Williams, State Vice- 
Regent. Mrs. Williams presided and read the Constitution 
and By-laws, and object of the Society. Officers elected were: 
Regent, Miss Georgia Hicks; Vice-Regent, Mrs. W. L. Hill, 
Warsaw; Secretary, Miss Elizabeth Newton Ireland. 

The name of the Chapter, "Mary Slocumb," was selected by 
a unanimous vote. Fifteen ladies now constitute the member- 
ship and we will probably have more before very long. Mrs. 
Williams and Miss Hicks entertained the Chapter at the 
June meeting. Mrs. Williams gave a most interesting ac- 
count of her visit to New York as delegate to the National 
D. R. Convention. Miss Hicks read a sketch of Nathaniel 
Macon, and Mrs. Withermgton an article on Colonial hospi- 
tality. This winter we will probably study Revolutionary 
history, beginning with sketches of the men and women of 
those times. As our Chapter is probably one of the most re- 
cently formed in the State it may not be amiss to give a little 
sketch of the heroine for whom it is named, "Mary Slocumb." 
Among the brave men who took part in the Battle of Moore's 


Creek Bridge was Capt. Ezekiel Slocumb, of Wayne County, 
whose home was near the Neuse River. He left his home on 
Sunday, previous to the battle, in high spirits, with eighty 
men to join the forces under Col. Richard Caswell, and to do 
battle against the Tories. Mrs. Slocumb, the wife of the 
Captain, said she kept thinking about her husband all day, 
when he was going with his men, and the Tories they would 
meet, and though she worked hard all day the situation of 
Captain Slocumb and his men could not be banished from her 
mind. That night she had a "dream that was not all a 
dream." She saw distinctly a body wrapped in her husband's 
guard cloak, bloody and dead, and others dead and wounded 
on the ground. She felt she must go to her husband, and in a 
few minutes after awakening she saddled her horse and rode 
at full speed in the direction the men had taken. All night, 
with scarcely a break in the pace, she rode through Duplin 
and New Hanover counties, through the lone pine woods. 
About sunrise she passed groups of women and children on 
the road-side exhibiting equal anxiety to hear from the battle, 
but she paused not until, after riding 65 miles, she came 
into swampy ground and heard the thunder of the cannon. 
To use her words, she said, "I stopped still, the battle was 
fighting then. I could hear the muskets and the shouting. I 
spoke to my mare and dashed on in the direction of the 
firing." The shouts grew louder as she drew nearer, and she 
said, "I saw, a few yards away from the road, under a cluster 
of trees perhaps twenty men lying — they were wounded. I 
knew the spot as if I had seen it a thousand times, and the 
position of the men. I had seen it all night. In an instant 
my whole soul was centered on one spot, for there, wrapped in 
his bloody guard cloak, was my husband's body. How I 
passed the few yards from my saddle to the place I never 
knew. I remember uncovering his head and seeing a face 
clotted with blood from a dreadful wound across the temples. 
I put my hand on the bloody face, and an unknown voice 
begged for water — it was Frank Cogdell. Just then, I looked 


up and my husband, bloody as a butcher, and muddy as a 
ditcher, stood before me." Her husband was wounded, but 
not seriously. She spent the day in tenderly nursing the 
wounded and dying, then returned home. 

Captain Slocumb survived the varying fortunes of the 
Revolution, and he and his courageous and devoted wife lie 
buried beneath modest slabs on their old plantation home. 
Some of us have heard the story of this brave woman from 
our earliest years, and to this day, though we frequently pass 
the old burying ground, we always look for the white tomb- 
stones, and think of the heroism of Mary Slocumb. 
Respectfully submitted, 

Georgia Hicks. 

The Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Paul H. Lee, of 
Raleigh, gave an interesting report of the annual meeting of 
the General Society, held in New York last April : 

According to a pleasant custom the New York State So- 
ciety was hostess to the National Society Daughters of the 
Revolution for the Convention of 1916, at the Waldorf- 
Astoria, the Convention of this year commemorating the 
twenty-fifth anniversary of the Society. The Silver Jubilee 
being an occasion of great significance brought together rep- 
resentatives from all parts of the country. 

The formal opening of the Convention was on Tuesday 
morning, May 2d, at 11:30. A procession, led by juniors, 
with past and present officers and especially invited speakers, 
marched to the rostrum and took their places. Rev. Dr. 
Robert Clark, Chaplain of the New York Society, offered an 
invocation, then the salute and pledge to the flag was given by 
the gathering. The regular program was an address of wel- 
come by Miss Carville, Regent of the New York State Society, 
and was brim-full of hearty expressions of welcome, and was 
received with much applause. Mayor Mitchell was to have 
spoken the words of greeting from the city, but was unable 
to attend at the last moment, and was represented by Hon. 
Cabot Ward, Park Commissioner. Mr. Ward bade the dele- 


gates a hearty welcome in the name of the Mayor and the 
City of New York. The President-General's address spoke 
for itself, ringing clear the keynote of patriotism. This was 
followed by the annual reports of the different officers. 

The afternoon session was given over to the report of the 
standing committees and reports of the State Regents. Break- 
ing the regular routine of the program for the afternoon the 
Convention was entertained by Madam Archtowska, an Amer- 
ican, whose husband, a native of Poland, made an address in 
behalf of the sufferers of Poland, and spoke of the appropri- 
ateness of an organization like the Daughters of the Revolu- 
tion, whose forefathers had fought beside Kosciusko and 
Pulaski, repaying the debt of gratitude by material help to 
the country from which these two men came to aid the Colon- 
ies in their time of need. "The Star Spangled Banner" was 
then sung with enthusiasm. 

The morning session of the second day of the Convention 
opened with the recital of the Lord's Prayer in unison. The 
minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. 
The Nominating Committee having been chosen on the prev- 
ious day the election of officers for the next two years was in 
order. There were two candidates for President-General: 
Mrs. Keay, from Pennsylvania, and Mrs. Raynor, of New 
York. A number of speeches were made setting forth the 
qualifications of each candidate. When the ballots were 
counted the Nominating Committee reported that Mrs. Ray- 
nor had received the majority vote and was therefore de- 
clared the President-General for the next two years. While 
the ballots were being counted reports were still being read 
from the State Chapters. Miss Hinton, Regent of the North 
Carolina Society, gave a very complete and gratifying report 
of the work done by the State Society. It was very pleasing 
that there was a good representation from the "Old North 

The opening feature of the afternoon session of May 3d 
was a telegram from West Virginia announcing a gift of $25 


as a silver jubilee present. Two vocal solos were rendered; 
then several announcements were made, the most important 
being an invitation extended to the General Society by Miss 
Hinton, reading: "The North Carolina Society cordially in- 
vites the General Society Daughters of the Revolution to hold 
the annual meeting of 1917 in Raleigh, North Carolina." On 
motion of Miss Carville, of New York, seconded by Mrs. 
Berry, of Long Island, the invitation was accepted. The 
yearly volume of the North Carolina Booklet was pre- 
sented most graciously by the Vice-Regent, Mrs. Marshall 
Williams. The gift was acknowledged by the President- 

A very pleasant departure from business was a visit from 
Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., a member of the Woman's Sec- 
tion Committee of the Preparedness Parade, who came to 
extend an invitation to the Daughters to take part in the Pre- 
paredness Divisions of the patriotic Societies. 

Now we will turn to the numerous entertainments planned 
for the pleasure of the delegates. There was a reminder of 
New Amsterdam in the selection of the Holland House for 
the reception of welcome given by the New York State Society 
to officers, delegates, and visitors, from four to six o'clock on 
Monday afternoon, May 1st. A continuous procession passed 
down the line, headed by Miss Carville, Regent of New York, 
and the general officers. The Hospitality Committee looked 
after the serving of refreshments and making every one feel 
welcome. When the last strains of the orchestra died away 
one could feel "The End of a Perfect Day." 

On the following afternoon the Board of Managers of the 
General Society gave a tea in the East Room of the Waldorf 
in honor of those on roll of the first two hundred and fifty 
members of the Society. An invitation was extended to all 
delegates and visitors to pay their respects to these pioneer 
members. Conspicuous among the pioneer members present 
was Mrs. Joseph J. Casey, one of the incorporators and for 
nineteen years Registrar-General. 


The principal social function this year was a luncheon, 
which was a reversion from the regular custom of a banquet. 
The business being over, every one was ready for the function, 
which meant a good time. The luncheon was served in the 
Astor gallery, the hall being resplendent with decorations of 
flags and flowers, amid its gorgeous hangings of gold. The 
menu, lists of guests of honor, and program of toasts were 
enclosed in a cover of buff, adorned with a water-color repro- 
duction of an old print of the inauguration of George Wash- 
ington, at Federal Hall, Wall Street, April 30, 1789. The 
guests were entertained by an address on Preparedness, from 
Major-General Leonard Wood, of U. S. A. Mrs. Chas. S. 
Whitman, the wife of the Governor of New York, was also a 
guest of honor. 

After a group of German songs, Mrs. Kent, the toastmis- 
tress, introduced the speakers, who were seated on a dias 
banked with flowers. Each toast given was a retrospect of the 
twenty-five full years of the Society. When Mrs. Bleakley, 
the retiring President-General ; rose to give her parting word 
she was visibly affected. She spoke briefly of the activities of 
the past four years, and urged all to work for the Society 
under the new leadership. 

The three toasts that followed the President-General's were 
given by ex-Presidents-General, the toasts being as follows: 
"The Woman of the Past," by Mrs. D. Phoenix Ingraham; 
"The Woman of the Present," by Mrs. Adeline P. Fitz, and 
"The Woman of the Future," by Miss Adaline W. Sterling. 
The final toast was given by Mrs. Nathaniel S. Keay, Vice- 

At the close of the feast gifts were bestowed on each past 
and present President-General, in the order of her service, 
a beautiful pin of platinum and gold in the form of a friend- 
ship wreath, to which was attached the Society Ribbon, bear- 
ing in silver letters, "1891-1916," as an expression of love 
from the State Societies. This testimonial came as a com- 
plete surprise, all recipients were present and much appre- 


ciation was shown by the past officers as evidence of the strong 
tie that binds the Daughters together. 

At the coffee stage of the luncheon two ushers passed from 
table to table, placing beside each guest a box tied with buff 
and blue ribbon, containing a souvenir in the form of a 
dainty silver teaspoon of Revolutionary pattern, inscribed 
"D. R, 1891-1916." 

Friday, May 5th, was set to show the visitors New York's 
wonderful park-way system. The weather did not smile upon 
us; instead showers and clouds fell, but a few glimpses of 
sunshine insured the excursion. Automobiles were found at 
the 34th street entrance of the Waldorf, and when the tourists 
had been placed the start began. The route led through Fifth 
Avenue, thence by Pelham to Travers Island, where the party 
was scheduled to lunch at the New York Athletic Club. The 
luncheon was served on the enclosed balcony of the Club, and 
was quite refreshing. After luncheon the Daughters re- 
turned to their respective vehicles and started for Yonkers, 
through parks along historic roads. Automobiles sped until 
we reached the doorway of the hospitable home of Mrs. 
Bleakley, who gave the delegates a cordial welcome; the re- 
freshments were as bountiful as the greeting was hearty. 
Reluctantly the visitors turned toward New York, carrying 
with them the memory of a charming day. 

On Saturday morning, May 6th, a pilgrimage was made 
around historic lower New York, winding up at Frances Tav- 
ern for refreshments and rest. 

A glorious May afternoon formed the beautiful setting for 
the last event of the Convention, when a large company as- 
sembled to attend the opening of Fort Independence Park, 
and to witness the unveiling of two bronze memorial tablets, 
the gift of the General Society Daughters of the Revolution. 
These tablets adorn the gate-posts that stand at the entrance 
of Fort Independence Park, which includes the exterior de- 
fences of the Revolutionary Fort. The erection of this splen- 
did memorial is due to the untiring efforts of Mrs. Raynor, the 


newly-elected President-General. The retiring President- 
General made a stirring address, taking as her theme the 
dedication of the Park as an inspiration to the youth of our 
nation. When the last strains of "The Star Spangled Ban- 
ner" had died away, the last chapter of the Convention of 
1916 had passed into history. 

Miss Georgia Hicks, of Faison, was elected Historian. 
There will be no change in the officers until the next annual 
meeting, which will be held in Raleigh, after the meeting of 
the General Society, the invitation extended by the Blooms- 
bury Chapter being accepted. In the absence of Mrs. L. E. 
Covington, Mrs. Charles P. Wales (Duncan Cameron Win- 
ston), formerly a Vice-Regent of the Society, acted as Re- 
cording Secretary. 

The evening of the 25th a tea party was given by the Re- 
gent of the Penelope Barker Chapter at her lovely Colonial 
home that dates back to 1722, which was the scene of beauty, 
wit, and chivalry. Flowers — golden blossoms predominat- 
ing — were banked here and there. The hostess, assisted by 
the Vice-Regent of the Chapter, Miss Caroline W. Coke, re- 
ceived the guests in the front drawing-room with charming 
grace. She wore a handsome creation of white chiffon, with 
train of black velvet, and trimmed with rare lace, an heirloom 
handed down in Mr. Matthew's family in Scotland for genera- 
tions, that had been the bridal veil of a relative in the long- 
ago — the Countess of Campbelldown. A feature of the even- 
ing was the tea party tableau — a table and several chairs of 
the Revolutionary period were arranged in the centre of the 
front drawing-room, around which sat and stood the members 
of the Penelope Barker Chapter, each in turn signing another 
document expressing the friendship and good-will of this 
province by the descendents of the Tea Party signers of the 
distant past. Mrs. Selby Harney, a descendant of Winifred 
Hoskins, acted as Secretary of the Tea Party of 1916. 

Telegrams of greeting, congratulations, and good wishes 
from Mrs. Cordelia Armstrong Raynor, President-General 


Daughters of the Revolution; Mrs. Alfred Moore Waddell, 
President North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames ; the 
North Carolina Society Sons of the Revolution, and Colonel 
and Mrs. Charles Earle Johnson, were read by Miss Hinton, 

as follows : 

New York, October 24, 1916. 
Miss Mary Hilliard Hinton: 

The President-General sends greetings to the North Carolina 
Society, its Regent and members. Would like to be with the Pene- 
lope Barker Chapter. The report from North Carolina was inspiring 
last Monday. We are working for a great ideal : Liberty, Home, and 
Country. Cordelia A. Raynor. 

Miss M. H. Hinton, Regent of the North Carolina Society Daughters 
of the Revolution: 

Wilmington, N. C, October 24, 1916. 
The North Carolina Society Colonial Dames of America send greet- 
ing. May continued success attend your efforts to keep in remem- 
brance the glorious deeds of the past. G. Waddell. 

President N. C. S. C. D. A. 

Raleigh, N. C, October 24, 1916. 
Miss Mary Hilliard Hinton, State Regent of the Daughters of the Rev- 
The Society of Sons of the Revolution extends congratulations to 
the Daughters of the Revolution on this occasion of their annual 
meeting in the historic borough of Edenton, and wishes your organi- 
zation all the success which the patriotic labors of its members so 
richly deserve. Marshall DeLancy Haywood, 

Se&y. of the Sons of the Revolution. 

Raleigh, N. C, October 24, 1916. 
Miss Hary Hilliard Hinton, State Regent D. R.: 

Mrs. Johnson and I wish to express to you, and through you to the 
Daughters of the Revolution, our appreciation of the noble work being 
done by your patriotic Society, and to voice our regret that we cannot 
be present with you today in person, as we are in spirit and in 
thought. Chas. E. Johnson. 

The State Vice-Regent, Mrs. Marshall Williams, offered a 
resolution of thanks most gracefully expressed for the many 
courtesies extended by the local Chapter Daughters of the 
Revolution and citizens of Edenton : 


"Scarcely had we arrived in historical Edenton before we 
realized that coupled with patriotism was unbounded hospi- 

To the gentlemen of the Historical Society for the inter- 
esting and delightful boat ride, the joy experienced as we 
glided along that 'river of dreams,' reflecting and mirroring 
the beauties of lavish nature, is inexpressible. 

Then the cup of refreshing tea and delicious cakes served 
at the home of Mr. Frank Wood, Miss Carrie Coke, the Vice- 
Regent of the local Chapter being hostess, and allow us to re- 
peat our thanks for the recipe of the famous Penelope Barker 
tea cakes, useful souvenirs indeed. 

Welcome evening made us feel very much at home through 
the courtesy of your Regent, Mrs. Patrick Matthew, who 
greeted us in her own charming way and then a welcome from 
that prince of gentlemen, Dr. Dillard. Indeed we were en- 
tranced to feel ourselves seated in the House of Burgesses 
and hear the history of the famous judges who sojourned 

The exercises in St. Paul's Church were an inspiration, 
and we rejoice with the Edenton people in having Mr. Huske 
of New Berne to present the tablet. We were glad to see so 
many school children present to witness this eventful cere- 

We enjoyed the address of Colonel Grimes when the Iredell 
tablet was unveiled and the acceptance by the silver tongued 
orator, Dr. Dillard. Of especial interest was our visit to the 
home of Mrs. Gordon. 

It was pleasant to visit the artistic and beautiful new 
Academy and again witness another tablet unveiled and ac- 
cepted by Mr. Pruden, Chairman of Trustees. 

Long to be remembered was the unveiling of the tablet at 
the court house to the women of the Edenton Tea Party, and 
Colonel Vann's tribute to womanhood and the acceptance by 
Mr. F. W. Hobbs, Clerk of the Court. 

The Society of the visiting Daughters is greatly indebted 


to Mrs. Pruden and Mrs. John Wood for a real peep into the 
fireside and social life of the charming and cultured homes of 
Edenton — rich in rare and interesting relics. 

Our Society was honored by the presence of Colonel Olds, 
State Historian. 

Last, but by no means least, were our delightful moments 
spent in the Italian garden of the genial host, Dr. Dillard, 
where we walked with Milton in a Paradise and dreamed with 
Dante of Beatrice. 

All good things must end save one. Among the choice 
things of earth there is nothing so fair as memory ; without it 
there would be no history, no friendship, no love of patriotic 

So we will take with us in memory's storehouse this de- 
lightful occasion, showered with intellectual gifts and gracious 
hospitality, and will count it another pearl in our rosary of 
grateful thoughts." 

Witty toasts by Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Matthew were 
given. Delicious refreshments in two courses with the cup 
of tea, brewed as nowhere else on this side of the Atlantic, 
were served. Miss Hinton and Mrs. Williams presided at the 
tea table. After reading a list of the achievements of the 
North Carolina Society Daughters of the Revolution, the Re- 
gent expressed, on behalf of the Society, appreciation of the 
cordiality and delightful hospitality of the Edentonians and 
good-nights were said. 




Raised funds through the publication of the North Caro- 
lina Booklet to erect a bronze tablet, cast by Gorham and 
Company, to the memory of the fifty-one signers of the Eden- 
ton Tea Party, in the State Capitol at Raleigh, the first mem- 
morial to adorn that building, in October, 1908. 

Since May, 10, 1901, has published the North Carolina 
Booklet, an historical magazine, devoted to North Carolina 


History — "Great Events in North Carolina History." It 
has just entered upon the sixteenth volume. The editors 
and contributors have always served without remuneration. 
There is no capital stock, the periodical being run on faith, 
as it were, but more than five thousand dollars have been 
spent in publishing it and about a thousand dollars have been 
cleared, all made from the subscriptions and advertisements. 
More than three hundred articles have been contributed by 
one hundred and five writers, thirty-two of these being women. 
It goes to all the libraries of our greatest Universities and 
the great libraries of the country, and to many colleges. It 
has subscribers in twenty-eight States of the Union, Great 
Britain, and India. 

The site of the meeting of the Grand Albemarle Assembly, 
February 6, 1665, was located and marked by a handsome 
tablet, June 11, 1910, by the Sir Walter Ealeigh Chapter of 
Elizabeth City. 

A marble tablet has been placed in the High School of 
Elizabeth City, containing a record of the great events in the 
history of Pasquotank County, the work of the Sir Walter 
Raleigh Chapter. 

A room bearing the name "Virginia Dare Room," in the 
hospital at Elizabeth City, has been furnished by the two 
Junior Chapters of that town — the Virginia Dare and Ensi- 

On April 26, 1911, the Bloomsbury Chapter erected a tab- 
let and boulder to mark the location of the site of the old town 
of Bloomsbury, where our capital city now stands. 

On April 23, 1913, the Bloomsbury Chapter placed a 
bronze tablet on the City Municipal Building, to the memory 
of Colonel Joel Lane, who was instrumental in locating the 
capital at Raleigh. 

The set of one hundred and nine lantern slides, ninety-four 
of which are colored, and the lecture that accompanies them, 
"Stories From North Carolina History," is the work of the 
entire State Society. 


The Penelope Barker Chapter, at Edenton, has erected the 
following tablets: 

A tablet on the exterior of St. Paul's Church. 

A tablet on the exterior of the court house. 

A bronze tablet on the east side of the court house, contain- 
ing the Tea Party Resolutions and the names of the fifty-one 

A bronze tablet on the south side of the Edenton Academy, 
dedicated to its founders. 

A marble tablet in the interior of St. Paul's Church, dedi- 
cated to its vestrymen who signed the "Test" for American 

A marble tablet in the great brick chimney of Judge James 
Iredell's home. 

A complete map and key of St. Paul's churchyard have been 
made by the Penelope Barker Chapter, and presented to the 
said Parish. 

Twenty-five gold medals have been presented in the public 
schools of North Carolina to pupils writing the best essays on 
some given historical subject, North Carolina history being 

The North Carolina Society assisted in collecting, install- 
ing, taking care of, packing and recording the North Carolina 
Historical Exhibit at Jamestown Exposition in 1907. 

The Society has contributed liberally towards funds used 
in erecting monuments by the General Society at Valley 
Forge, Cambridge, Massachusetts, where General Washing- 
ton took command of the American Army under the historic 
elm on Cambridge Common, and the bronze tablet to the sea- 
men of the American Navy during the Revolution that was 
placed in Bancroft Hall, Annapolis, in May, 1910. 

Marking the grave of Sergeant Koen, of the Revolution, 
by the Sir Walter Raleigh Chapter. 

Placing a tombstone over the grave of General Isaac Greg- 
ory, in the Gregory burying ground at "Fairfax." 



Publishing the original historical papers of Miss Catherine 
Albertson, in a book entitled, "In Ancient Albemarle." 

The tablet erected by the Red Men, through the Penelope 
Barker Chapter, on the exterior of the court house, Eden- 
ton, K C. 

Thursday morning was devoted to sight-seeing. The 
Cupola House, where Miss Bond requested the Daughters to 
register in the guest book that only contained the autographs 
of the Society of the Cincinnati when they visited this Colo- 
nial mansion, St. Paul's churchyard, and "Hayes" were 
visited. The grave of Penelope Barker, in the burying- 
ground at "Hayes," where she sleeps beside her husband, 
Thomas Barker, was strewn with golden flowers by the 

The delegates left at noon, carrying the happiest recollec- 
tions of their Twentieth Annual Meeting, of the one-time cap- 
ital of North Carolina and her hospitable inhabitants, worthy 
inheritors of her glorious past and noble men and women. 

The officers of the Society are : Regent, Miss Mary Hilliard 
Hinton; Vice-Regent, Mrs. Marshall Williams; Honorary 
Regents, Mrs. E. E. Moffitt and Mrs. T. K. Bruner ; Record- 
ing Secretary, Mrs. L. E. Covington; Corresponding Secre- 
tary, Mrs. Paul H. Lee ; Treasurer, Mrs. Charles Lee Smith ; 
Registrar, Miss Sarah W. Ashe. 

Vol. XVIII JULY, 1918 No. 1 

North Carolina Booklet 

'Carolina! Carolina! Heaven's blessings attend her! 
While we live zve will cherish, protect and defend her' 

Published by 



The object of The Booklet is to aid in developing and preserving 
North Carolina History. The proceeds arising from its publication 
will be devoted to patriotic purposes. Editor. 





Mrs. Hubert Haywood. 
Mrs. E. E. Moffitt. 
Mr. R. D. W. Connor. 
Dr. D. H. Hill. 
Dr. William K. Boyd. 
Capt. S. A. Ashe. 
Miss Adelaide L. Fries. 

Miss Martha Helen Haywood. 

Dr. Richard Dillard. 

Dr. Kemp P. Battle. 

Mr. James Sprunt. 

Mr. Marshall DeLancey Haywood. 

Chief Justice Walter Clark. 

Major W. A. Graham. 

Dr. Charles Lee Smith. 

editor : 

Miss Mary Hilliard Hinton. 


Mrs. E. E. Moffitt. 



Mrs. Marshall Williams, 
Regent, Faison. 

Mrs. E. E. Moffitt, Honorary 
Regent, Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. Thomas K. Bruner, 
Honorary Regent, Raleigh. 

Miss Mary Hilliard Hinton, 
1st Vice-Regent, Raleigh. 

Mrs. Paul H. Lee, 2d Vice- 
Regent, Raleigh. 

Mrs. George P. Pell, Recording 
Secretary, Raleigh. 

Miss Winifred Faison, Corre- 
sponding Secretary, Faison. 

Miss Georgia Hicks, Historian, 

Mrs. Charles Lee Smith, 

Treasurer, Raleigh. 
Mrs. George Ramsey, Registrar, 

Mrs. John E. Ray, Custodian of 

Relics, Raleigh. 
Mrs. Laurence Covington, 

Executive Secretary, Raleigh. 
Mrs Charles Wales, 

Genealogist, Edenton. 
Miss Catherine Albertson, 

Junior Director, Elizabeth City. 


Bloomsbury Chapter Mrs. Paul H. Lee, Regent. 

Penelope Barker Chapter , Regent. 

Sir Walter Raleigh Chapter Mrs. I. M. Meekins, Regent. 

General Francis Nash Chapter Miss Rebecca Cameron, Regent. 

Roanoke Chapter Mrs. F. M. Allen, Regent. 

Mary Slocumb Chapter Miss Georgia Hicks, Regent. 

Colonel Thomas Robeson Chapter Mrs. Annie Bute, Regent. 

Tuscarora Chapter Mrs. C. H. Hunter, Regent. 

Founder of the North Carolina Society and Regent 1896-1902 : 


Regent 1902: 

Mrs. D. H. HILL, SR.f 

Regent 1902-1906: 


Regent 1906-1910: 

Mrs. E. E. MOFFITT. 

Regent 1910-1917: 


*Died November 25, 1911. 
tDied December 12. 1904. 

The North Carolina Booklet 

Vol. XVIII JULY, 1918 No. 1 


Revolutionary Patriot and Border Hero 

Part 11—1780-1783 
By Archibald Henderson 


At the appointed time, September 25, the several forces 
united at the rendezvous, already rendered famous by the 
great treaty held by Colonel Richard Henderson with the 
Cherokees there in March 1775, the Sycamore Shoals of the 
Watauga. Hither came Colonel William Campbell with two 
hundred men, Colonel Arthur Campbell with two hundred 
men, Colonel Isaac Shelby and Lieutenant-Colonel John Se- 
vier with two hundred and forty- men each — uniting with the 
force of one hundred and sixty men under Colonel Charles 
McDowell and Major Joseph McDowell, who had been en- 
camped there for some time. An "express" sent by Colonel 
William Campbell from Washington County, Virginia, had 
already notified Colonel Benjamin Cleveland of Wilkes 
County, North Carolina, of the plan ; and 'Cleveland was also 
urged by an "express" from Colonel McDowell to join the 
"over-mountain men" on the east side of the mountains with 
as large a force as he could raise. 

The task of raising funds to equip the forces of Shelby and 
Sevier, and to defray the expenses of the campaign was an 
extremely difficult problem. The settlers generally had ex- 
pended their available money for their lands ; and so the only 
available funds were in the hands of the Entry-taker of Sulli- 
van County, John Adair. When Sevier applied to him for 


the money needed to defray the expenses of the military expe- 
dition, Adair replied : 

Colonel Sevier, I have no authority by law to make that disposition 
of this money. It belongs to the impoverished treasury of North 
Carolina, and I dare not appropriate a cent of it to any purpose. 
But, if the country is over-run by the British, liberty is gone. Let the 
money go too. Take it. If the enemy, by its use, is driven from the 
country, I can trust that country to justify and vindicate my conduct. 
Take it. 

For this indispensable sum, amounting to twelve thousand 
seven hundred and thirty-five dollars, Shelby and Sevier 
pledged themselves to see it refunded or its use legalized by 
an act of the Legislature; and this recognizance was after- 
wards scrupulously fulfilled. 1 

It seemed to the enemy that the over-mountain men had 
been assembled as if by magic. "The wild and fierce inhabi- 
tants of . . . (the) settlements westward of the Alleghany 
mountains," said Mackenzie in his Strictures, "assembled 
suddenly and silently." In his letter of October 24, 1780, 
Lord Rawdon significantly observed : "A numerous army now 
appeared on the frontier, drawn from ISTolachucky, and other 
settlements beyond the mountains, whose very names had been 
unknown to us." On September 26, this force of one thou- 
sand and forty frontiersmen set forth upon the march. Be- 
fore leaving the camp at Watauga, a farewell sermon was 
delivered by the Reverend Samuel Doak, who (according to 
trustworthy tradition) urged them to do battle valiantly, clos- 
ing with a stirring invocation to "the sword of the Lord and 
of Gideon" — a sentiment greeted with a lusty shout of 
acclaim from the hardy mountaineers. At Quaker Meadows 
in Burke County, the famous home of the McDowells, which 
they reached on September 30, there was encamped a force 
of three hundred and fifty militia — the hardy followers of 
that fierce and blood-thirsty fighter, Colonel Benjamin Cleve- 
land, "Old Roundabout," who called themselves "Cleveland's 
Bulldogs" ; the stalwart riflemen of Rutherford under Colonel 

JRainsey : Annals of Tennessee, 226. 


Andrew Hampton, and the flower of the militant citizenship 
of Surry led by a born leader of men, a cousin of Patrick 
Henry, Colonel Joseph Winston. 2 

Already on September 14 preceding, General William Lee 
Davidson had ordered Cleveland to unite with other forces to 
resist Ferguson's advance; and under the present plan the 
prospects seemed to favor successful resistance. The com- 
manders of the different divisions, all of whom had acted with 
executive authority, controlled their troops only through vol- 
untary agreement on the part of the privates. In view of 
petty disorders and insubordination, the commanding officers 
on the second day (October 2) after resuming the march, held 
a conference to devise plans for quieting the disturbances, 
and also for the purpose of choosing a leader. "It was 
resolved," says Shelby in his Pamphlet (1823), "to send to 
Head-Quarters for a general officer to command us ; and that, 
in the mean time, we should meet in council every day to 
determine on the measures to be pursued, and appoint any of 
our own body to put them in execution. I was not satisfied 
with this course, as I thought it calculated to produce delay, 
when expedition and dispatch were all important to us. We 
were then in sixteen or eighteen miles of Gilbert Town, where 
we supposed Ferguson to be. I suggested these things to the 
council, and then observed to the officers, that we were all 
North Carolinians except Col. Campbell, who was from Vir- 
ginia ; that I knew him to be a man of good sense, and warmly 
attached to the cause of his country; that he commanded the 
largest regiment; and that if they concurred with me, until 
a general officer should arrive from Head-Quarters, appoint 
him to command us, and march immediately against the 
enemy. To this proposition some one or two said 'agreed.' 
No written minute or record was made of it." 3 Shelby 
acknowledges that that he did this to "silence the expectation 

2 A. C. Avery: "Quaker Meadows," in North Carolina Booklet, IV, No. 3; 
W. A. Graham : General Joseph Graham, 273-283 ; G. T. Winston : "The Life 
and Times of Major Joseph Winston," 1895 ; J. Crouch : "The Life and Char- 
acter of Col. Benjamin Cleveland," 1908. 

3 Appendix to L. C Draper's King's Mountain and its Heroes, 564. 


of Col. McDowell" to command the expedition. This was 
a legitimate expectation on the part of Col. McDowell, who 
was the commanding officer of the district in which the force 
was operating, and had, as Shelby further admits, "com- 
manded the armies of militia in that quarter all the summer 
before against the same enemy." The objections urged 
against McDowell by Shelby were that he was "too far 
advanced in life" and "too inactive" for the command of an 
expedition which required extraordinary resources in strength 
and endurance. The first objection, mentioned by Shelby at 
the advanced age of seventy-three, is not founded on fact, and 
was perhaps due to defective memory; for McDowell was 
a vigorous young man of thirty-seven in 1780. In his 
narrative, 4 Shelby states merely that McDowell "was too 
slow an officer" for the enterprise. There was at no time any 
question of the bravery or patriotism of McDowell. 5 

During the progress of the conference, Campbell took 
Shelby aside and requested that his name be withdrawn and 
that Shelby himself take the command. To this, Shelby very 
correctly replied that he was the youngest Colonel present; 
and that McDowell under whom he had served, would resent 
his elevation to the chief command. Shelby probably realized 
that the over-mountain men, at all times unaccustomed to 
strict military discipline and somewhat prone to insubordina- 
tion, would not readily accept the leadership in this meteoric 
campaign of a militia commander conspicuous neither for rare 
discretion nor for exceptional efficiency. The selection of 
Campbell was undoubtedly a temporary expedient, a tactful 
mode of bridging an awkward situation; yet it is clear that 
these border leaders would never have agreed to Shelby's sug- 
gestion that the chief command be given, even temporarily, to 
Campbell, had they not recognized in him an efficient leader 
and known him to be a true soldier. One final conclusion is 

i American Review, December, 1848. 

B Other graver objections to the selection of McDowell as leader of the cam- 
paign have been mentioned. In this connection see Draper's King's Moun- 
tain and Its Heroes, 87-9, and A. C. Avery's "Burke County," 90, in Western 
North Carolina (1890). 


irresistible : that Shelby himself, as originator and prime 
mover in the expedition, more than any other was entitled to 
the chief command. 

Colonel McDowell, who, as Shelby frankly says, "had the 
good of his country more at heart than any title of command," 
cheerfully acquiesced in the council's decision; but observed 
that as he was not to have the chief command, he would volun- 
teer to convey to headquarters at Hillsborough the request for 
a general officer. On October 4, McDowell started on his 
errand from the mouth of Cane Creek near Gilbert Town, 
where the American force was encamped. 6 He bore with 
him a significant letter, to which the chief historian of the 
battle did not have access. 7 He left his men under the com- 
mand of his brother, Major Joseph McDowell. Colonel 
Campbell now assumed temporarily the chief command, but 
he was to be regulated and directed by the determinations of 
the Colonels, who were to meet in council every day. It is 
noticeable that the list of signatures is not headed by that of 
Campbell, and does not include that of Charles McDowell, 
the bearer. 

Rutherford County, Camp near Gilberttown 
Oct 4, 1780. 

Sir, We have now collected at this place about 1500 good men, 
drawn from the Counties of Surry, Wilkes, Burke, Washington and 
Sullivan Counties in this State, and Washington County in Virginia, 
and expect to be joined in a few days by Col. Clarke of Georgia, and 
Col. Williams of South Carolina, with about 1000 more — As we have 
at this time called out our Militia without any orders from the 
Executive of our different States, and with the view of Expelling the 
Enemy out of this part of the Country, we think such a body of men 
worthy of your attention, and would request you to send a General 
Officer, immediately to take the command of such Troops as may 
embody in this quarter — Our Troops being all Militia, and but little 

6 It is worthy of note that, on his way to Hillsborough, McDowell called at 
the camp of Lacy and Hill, with their South Carolinians, and at that of Yv 11- 
liams with the Rowan Corps, at Flint Hill, a dozen miles or so to the eastward 
of the head of Cane Creek. These forces, being thus notified of the march 
against Ferguson, formed a junction with Campbell's forces on October 6. 

7 Draper makes no mention of this letter, the original of which is in the 
Gates Papers, Archives of the New York Historical Society. For a transcript 
of this letter I am indebted to Mr. Wilberforce Eames, of the New York Public 
Library, and to Mr. Robert H. Kelby, Librarian of the New York Historical 


acquainted with discipline, we could wish him to be a Gentleman of 
address, and able to keep up a proper discipline, without disgusting 
the Soldiery — Every assistance in our power, shall be given the Offi- 
cer you may think proper to take the command of us. 

It is the wish of such of us as are acquainted with General David- 
son and Col. Morgan (if in service) that one of them Gentlemen may 
be appointed to this command. 

We are in great want of Ammunition, and hope you will endeavor 
to have us properly furnished with that Article. 

Col. McDowell will wait upon you with this, who can inform you 
of the present situation of the Enemy, and such other particulars 
respecting our Troops as you may think necessary. 
We are Sir, Your most obdt. and very hble. Servts. 

Benja. Cleveland, 
Isaac Shelby. 
John Sevier, 
Andw. Hampton, 
Wm. Campbell, 
Jo. Winston. 
(Public Service) 

The Honorable Major General 
Horatio Gates 

Commander in Chief of 

the Southern Army. 
By Col. Charles McDowell Major General Smallwood 

Letter from 

Col. Cleveland &c 8 
4th October 80. 

A memorable incident, indicative of the indomitable de- 
termination of the American forces, deserves record here. 
Before resuming the march on October 3, the Colonels noti- 
fied the assembled troops of the nature and hazard of the 
enterprise before them ; and the offer was made that any one 
who so desired, might withdraw then and there from the cam- 
paign. Shelby thus laconically addressed the men : 

You have all been informed of the offer. You who desire to 
decline it, will, when the word is given, march three steps to the rear, 
and stand, prior to which a few more minutes will be granted you 
for consideration. 

a Cf. N. C. State Records, xiv, 663-4. A photographic facsimile of the signa- 
tures to this letter, made at my order from the original letter, shows that, 
contrary to the testimony of Mr. Roosevelt, who spells it "Cleavland," the 
correct spelling is "Cleveland." 


After a pause the order was given that "those who desired 
to hack out would step three paces to the rear," but not a man 
withdrew. Shelby then addressed the men in words which 
convey a vivid impression of the spirit of the movement and 
the character of the campaign : 

I am heartily glad to see you to a man resolve to meet and fight 
your country's foes. When we encounter the enemy, don't wait for 
the word of command. Let each one of you be your own officer, and 
do the very best you can, taking every care you can of yourselves, 
and availing yourselves of every advantage that chance may throw in 
your way. If in the woods, shelter yourselves, and give them Indian 
play ; advance from tree to tree, pressing the enemy and killing and 
disabling all you can. Your officers will shrink from no danger — 
they will be consistently with you, and the moment the enemy give 
war, be on the alert and strictly obey orders. 9 

The taunt of Ferguson, by which he had hoped to intimi- 
date the men of the back-country, evoked a retort he little 
expected. Ferguson's principal object at this time was to 
strike a crushing blow at the small band of partisans under 
Captain Elijah Clarke, who about the middle of September 
was threatening Augusta, Georgia, and was still hovering 
dangerously near the Carolina line. Ferguson was hoping 
for and expecting the return of furloughed loyalists in large 
numbers under Gibbes, the militia under Cruger at Ninety- 
Six, or Tarleton's Legion ordered thither by Cornwallis. Two 
deserters from the camp of the Americans came in on Septem- 
ber 30 to warn Ferguson of the approach of the frontier army. 
Had Ferguson struck straight for Charlotte and a junction 
there with Cornwallis, he might have eluded Campbell's 
force. But he was confronted with the danger of permitting 
the union of the forces of Clarke and Campbell ; the necessity 
of recalling numerous Tories, absent on furlough belonging 
to his own force ; and the danger of disaffection to the loyalist 
cause on the part of the people of that region. Perhaps Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Cruger had a deeper insight into the nature of 
the situation than had Ferguson; for in his reply (October 3, 
1780) to Ferguson's dispatch of September 30th, with its 

testimony of John Spelts, called "Continental Jack," who was present. 


alarming news of "so considerable (a) force as you understand 
is coming from the mountains," Cruger makes these eminently 
sane observations: "I Don't see how you can possibly (de- 
fend) the country and its neighborhood that you (are) now 
in. ... I flattered myself they (the Tory militia) 
would have been equal to the mountain lads, and that no 
further call for the defensive would have been (made ?) on 
this part of the Province. I begin to think our views for 
the present rather large. We have been led to this, proba- 
bly, in expecting too much from the militia." 10 

Aware of some of the dangers incident to the situation, 
Ferguson despatched messengers to Cornwallis, asking for 
assistance ; but these, being pursued, were delayed by reason 
of the circuitous route they were forced to take, and so did not 
reach Charlotte until the day after the battle at King's Moun- 
tain. Ferguson scorned to seek protection by making a 
forced march in order to effect a junction with Cornwallis at 
Charlotte. He preferred to make a stand, and, if possible, 
to dispose once for all of this barbarian mountain horde. 
From his camp Ferguson issued the following inflammatory 
and obscene appeal to the people, well calculated to arouse 
their bitter hostility to the approaching band, which he char- 
acterized as murderers of men and ravishers of women. 

Denard's Ford, Broad River, 
Tryon County, October 1, 1780. 

Gentlemen : — Unless you wish to be eat up by an inundation of bar- 
barians, who have begun by murdering an unarmed son before his 
aged father and afterward lopped off his arms, and who by their 
shocking cruelties and irregularities, give the best proof of their 
cowardice and want of discipline ; I say if you want to be pinioned, 
robbed, and murdered, and see your wives and daughters, in four 
days, abused by the dregs of mankind — in short, if you wish or 
deserve to live, and bear the name of men grasp your arms in a mo- 
ment and run to camp. 

The Back Water men have crossed the mountains ; McDowell, 
Hampton, Shelby, and Cleveland are at their head, so that you know 

10 This letter was found on Ferguson's dead body, after the battle of King's 
Mountain. See Ramsey : Annals of Tennessee, 241-2. 


what you have to depend upon. If you choose to be p — d upon by 
a set of mongrels, say so at once, and let your women turn their 
backs upon you and look out for real men to protect them. 

Pat. Ferguson, 
Major list Regiment? 1 

Loitering on his march, presumably in the hope of striking- 
Clarke, Ferguson did not reach King's Mountain until Octo- 
ber 6. On reaching Gilbert Town (near Rutherfordton, 
!N". C.) on October 4, the Americans discovered that Fergu- 
son had retired. "Having gained a knowledge of his design," 
related Shelby, "it was determined in a council of the princi- 
pal officers to pursue him with all possible dispatch. Ac- 
cordingly two nights before the action the officers were 
engaged all night in selecting the best men, the best horses 
and the best rifles, and at the dawn of day took Ferguson's 
trail and pursued him. . . . The mountain men had 
turned out to catch Ferguson. He was their object, and for 
the last thirty-six hours they never alighted from their horses 
but once to refresh at the Cowpens for an hour (where they 
were joined by Col. Williams of South Carolina, on the even- 
ing of the 6th with about 400 men), although the day of the 
action was so extremely wet that the men could only keep their 
guns dry by wrapping their bags, blankets and hunting shirts 
around the locks, which exposed their bodies to a heavy and 
incessant rain." 12 

In this connection, there is need of further detail in regard 
to the force under Williams. The account given by Draper 
is at once imperfect and distorted ; and his estimate is griev- 
ously warped by the prejudiced account written by South 
Carolinians who held Williams in detestation. James D. 
Williams was not a South Carolinian ; he was born in Han- 
over County, Virginia, in November, 1740. Since childhood 
he had lived in Granville County, N. C, whither the Williams 

^Virginia Gazette, November 11, 1780. The barbarous atrocity alluded to at 
the beginning of this letter is unsupported by evidence of any kind. 

^Autobiography of Isaac Shelby, an exact transcription of which I procured 
from the late Colonel R. T. Durrett, of Louisville, Kentucky. The valuable 
Durrett Collection of Manuscripts on Western History is now owned by the 
University of Chicago. 


family removed at an early date ; and here he remained until 
1772, when he went to South Carolina and settled on Little 
River in Laurens County. At the battle of Musgrove Mill, 
as related by Shelby himself, Williams 13 commanded the 
American center, while Shelby and Clarke commanded the 
right and left wings, respectively. The most reliable authori- 
ties state that Williams held the chief command in this bat- 
tle. 14 On his arrival at Hillsborough whither he conducted 
the prisoners taken at Musgrove Mill, Williams conveyed the 
news of this victory to Governor Rutledge of South Carolina, 
then a refugee from his own State. In recognition of the 
victory at Musgrove Mill, achieved by the force commanded 
by Williams, Governor Rut-ledge commissioned him as a 
brigadier general in the South Carolina militia. 15 On Sep- 
tember 8, Governor Abner Nash of North Carolina instructed 
General Williams to go to Caswell and other counties and 
recruit a. corps of volunteer horsemen, not to exceed one hun- 
dred, for active service against the enemy. 16 This force, 
about, seventy in number, Williams enlisted chiefly while 
encamped at Higgins' plantation in Rowan County. These 
recruits were brave and reliable soldiers ; and they came from 
a county noted for its patriotism and its hostility to England. 
"It was evident and it had frequently been mentioned to the 
King's Officers," says Banastre Tarleton in his Campaigns 
of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces, "that the coun- 
ties of Mecklenburg and Rowan were more hostile to Eng- 
land that any others in America." 17 

B C/. "Isaac Shelby," I, p. 140, North Carolina Booklet, January, 1917. 

14 A Sketch of the Life and Career of Col. James D. Williams, by Rev. J. D. 
Bailey (Cowpens, S. C, 1898). 

15 The official report, which in itself constitutes proof that Williams was in 
command at Musgrove Mill, was drawn up and signed by Williams ; and this is 
the only contemporary report of the battle from the field. On September 5, 
1780, Williams' official report was forwarded by General Gates to the Presi- 
dent of Congress. The full report was published in the Pennsylvania Packet 
on September 23, and doubtless earlier in North Carolina newspapers ; but the 
substance of the report, doubtless communicated by Governor Rutledge, ap- 
peared in the Virginia Gazette as early as September 13. Compare also North 
Carolina University Magazine, March, 1S55. 

16 For a copy of the original order, see Schenck, North Carolina, 1780-1781, 

17 The slur cast upon these Rowan recruits by the venomous Colonel Hill in 
his Manuscript Narrative only reflect upon their author. The Legislature of 
North Carolina, in November, 1788, acting upon a report submitted by Mr. 
Thomas Person, resolved : "That the estate of James Williams, deceased, late 


The number chosen from the over-mountain men to go 
forward from the ford of Green River on the night of Octo- 
ber 5, was about seven hundred ; and at the Cowpens, as accu- 
rately stated by Shelby, they were reinforced by four hundred 
men under Williams. 18 Here a second selection of nine hun- 
dred and ten horsemen was made ; and Colonel Campbell was 
retained in the chief command — the urgency of the pursuit 
making it inadvisable to await the coming of the general offi- 
cer for whom Col. Charles McDowell had gone to Hillsbor- 
ough. This force, closely followed by some eighty-odd foot- 
men ("foot-cavalry") pushed forward from the Cowpens on 
the night of October 6, in pursuit of the elusive Ferguson. 

So heavy was the fall of rain during the forenoon and so 
weary and jaded were the men, that Campbell, Sevier and 
Cleveland urged a halt ; but to this proposal the iron Shelby, 
intent upon the capture and destruction of the men who had 
threatened to hang him, gruffly replied with an oath : "I will 
not stop until night, if I follow Ferguson into Cornwallis' 
lines." As they approached King's Mountain, they encoun- 
tered three men who reported that they were just from the 
British camp, which was posted upon the plateau, and that 
there was a picket guard on the road not far ahead. "These 
men," says Benjamin Sharp in his account, "were detained 
lest they should find means to inform the enemy of our ap- 
proach, and Col. Shelby, with a select party, undertook to sur- 
prise and take the picket ; this he accomplished without firing 
a gun or giving the least alarm ; and it was hailed by the army 
as a good omen." 19 

18 0n October 2, Brigadier General Williams reported to Major-General Gates 
that the number then with him in Burke County was "about four hundred and 
fifty horsemen." Cf. N. C. State Records, xv. 94. He was in error as to his 
location, which was actually in Lincoln County. 

^American Pioneer, February, 1843. 

of the State of S. C. be released and acquitted from the payment of $25,000 
advanced to the said deceased in his lifetime (1780) by this state for the pur- 
pose of raising men for the defense of this and the United States, it having 
been manifested to this Assembly that he was in action at the Battle of King's 
Mountain where he headed three or four hundred men and in which action he 
gloriously fell, a sacrifice to liberty." See W. A. Graham: Gen. Joseph Gra- 
ham and His Revolutionary Papers, 282-3. In speaking of "our march to the 
Yadkin," Cornwallis calls the Rowan section "one of the most rebellious tracts 
in America." 



The remarkable battle which ensued presents an extraordi- 
nary contrast in the character of the combatants and the 
nature of the strategy and tactics employed. Each party ran 
true to form — the heroic and brilliant Ferguson repeating 
Braddock's suicidal tactics of opposing bayonet charges to 
the deadly fusillade of riflemen, carefully posted, Indian 
fashion, behind trees and every shelter afforded by the natural 
inequalities of the ground. In the army of the Carolina and 
Virginia frontiersmen, composed of independent commands 
recruited from many sources and each solicitous for its own 
credit, each command was directed in the battle by its own 
leader. Campbell, like Cleveland, Shelby, McDowell, Sevier, 
and Hambright, personally led his own division ; but the 
nature of the fighting and the peculiarity of the terrain made 
it impossible for him, though the chosen commander of the 
expedition, in actuality to play such a role. The tactics 
agreed upon in advance by the frontier commanders were 
simple enough — to surround and capture Ferguson's camp 
on the high plateau. The more experienced Indian fighters, 
Sevier and Shelby, unquestionably suggested the general 
tactics in accordance with their experience, which in any case 
would doubtless have been employed by the frontiersmen : to 
give the British "Indian-play," namely, to take cover any- 
where and fire from natural shelter. Cleveland, a Hercules in 
strength and courage, who had fought the Indians and recog- 
nized the wisdom of Indian tactics, ordered his men, as did 
some of the other leaders, to give way before a bayonet charge 
— but to return to the attack after the charge had spent its 

My brave fellows, we have beaten the Tories and we can do it again. 
. . . If they had the spirit of men, they would join with their 
fellow-citizens in supporting the independence of their country. When 
you are engaged, you are not to wait for the word of command from 
me. I will show you, by my example, how to fight ; I can undertake 
no more. Every man must consider himself an officer and act from 


his own judgment. Fire as quick as you can, and stand your ground 
as long as you can. When you can do no better, get behind trees 
or retreat ; but I beg you not to run quite off. If we are repulsed, 
let us make a point of returning and renewing the fight ; perhaps we 
may have better luck in the second attempt than in the first. 

The plateau upon which Ferguson was encamped was the 
top of an eminence about six hundred yards long and about 
two hundred and fifty from one base across to the other ; and 
its shape was that of an Indian paddle, varying from one 
hundred and twenty yards at the blade to sixty yards at the 
handle in width. Outcropping boulders upon the outer edge 
of the plateau • afforded some slight shelter for Ferguson's 
force; but, unsuspicious of the coming attack, Ferguson had 
made no abatis to protect his camp from the attack to 
which it was so vulnerable from the cover of the timber sur- 
rounding it on all sides. In taking their positions, the cen- 
ter to the North-East was occupied by Cleveland with his 
Bulldogs, Hambright with his South Fork Boys, from the 
Catawba (now Lincoln County, North Carolina), and Win- 
ston with his Surry Riflemen; to the South were the divi- 
sions under Joseph McDowell (brother of Charles) who was 
in touch with Winston, Sevier and Campbell ; while the South 
Carolinians under Lacey, who was in touch with Cleveland, 
the Rowan levies under Williams, and the Watauga borderers 
under Shelby were stationed upon the North side. Fergu- 
son's force consisted of Provincial Rangers, one hundred and 
fifty strong, and of well drilled loyalists, between eight and 
nine hundred, seriously weakened by the absence of a forag- 
ing party of between one and two hundred who had gone off 
on the morning the battle occurred. Shelby's men, before 
getting into position, received a hot fire, the opening shots of 
the engagement — which inspired Campbell, who now threw 
off his coat, to shout encouraging orders to his men, posted on 
the side of the mountain opposite to Shelby's force. When 
Campbell's Virginians uttered a series of piercing shouts, De 


Peyster, second in command, remarked to his chief: "These 
things are ominous — these are the damned yelling boys." 

The battle, which lasted some minutes short of an hour, 
was waged with terrific ferocity. The loyalist militia, where- 
ever possible, fired from the shelter of the rocks ; while the 
Provincial Corps, with fixed bayonets, steadily charged the 
frontiersmen, who fired at close range and rapidly withdrew 
to the very base of the mountain. After each bayonet charge, 
the Provincials coolly withdrew to the summit, under the ac- 
cumulating fire of the returning mountaineers, who quickly 
gathered in their rear. Owing to their elevation, the British, 
although using the rapid-fire breech-loading rifle invented by 
Ferguson himself, found their vision deflected, continually 
firing high ; and thus suffered nature's handicap, refraction. 20 
The militia, using sharpened butcher knives which Ferguson 
taught them to utilize as bayonets, charged against the moun- 
taineers ; but their fire, in answer to the deadly fusillade of 
the expert squirrel shooters, was belated, owing to the fact 
that they could not fire so long as the crudely improvised 
bayonets remained in their pieces. The Americans, contin- 
ually firing upward, found ready marks for their aim in the 
clearly delineated outlines of their adversaries ; and felt the 
exultation which animates the hunter who has tracked to his 
lair and entrapped wild game at bay. 

The leaders of the various divisions of the mountaineers 
bore themselves with impetuous bravery, recklessly exposing 
themselves between the lines of fire and with native eloquence, 
interspersed with mild profanity, rallying their individual 
commands, from end to end, once more to the attack. Camp- 
bell scaled the rugged heights, encouraging his men to the 
ascent. Cleveland resolutely facing the foe, rallied his bull- 
dogs with the inspiriting words: "Come, boys, let's try 'em 
again. We'll have better luck next time." The most deadly 
charge, led by De Peyster himself, fell upon Hambright's 
South Fork boys ; and Major Chronicle, waving his military 

20 F. Brevard McDowell : The Battle of King's Mountain. 



hat, fell dead, the command, "Face to the hill !" dying upon 
his lips. These veteran soldiers met the shock of the charge ; 
a number of their men were shot down or transfixed, and 
the remainder, reserving their fire until the charging column 
was only a few feet away, poured in a deadly volley before 
retiring. William Lenoir, independently fighting in Wins- 
ton's column, was in the forefront of the hottest battle, his 
reckless bravery making him a veritable target for the 
enemy. He received several wounds and his hair and his 
clothes were riddled with bullets. The ranking American 
officer, Brigadier General James Williams, was mortally 
wounded on the "very top of the mountain, in the thickest 
of the fight" ; and as he revived for a moment, an eye-wit- 
ness relates, his first words were: "For God's sake, boys, 
don't give up the hill." Hambright, sorely wounded, his 
boot overflowing with blood and his hat riddled with three 
bullet holes, declined to dismount, but pressed gallantly for- 
ward, exclaiming in his "Pennsylvania Dutch" : "Huzza, my 
prave poys, fight on a few minutes more, and te pattle will 
be over!" On the British side Ferguson was supremely 
brave, rapidly dashing from one side to the other, oblivious 
to all danger. Wherever the shrill note of his silver whistle 
sounded, there the fighting was hottest and the British resist- 
ance deadliest. His officers fought with the characteristic 
steadiness of the British soldier, and again and again charged 
headlong against the wavering circle of the frontiersmen. 21 

Ferguson's authentic boast — that "he was on King's Moun- 
tain, that he was king of the mountain and that God Almighty 
could not drive him from it" — was doubtless prompted, less 
by belief in the impregnability of his position, than by a 
desire to inspire confidence in his men. His position was 
admirably chosen for defense against attack by troops employ- 
ing regulation tactics ; but never dreaming of the possibility 
of sudden investment, Ferguson had erected no defenses for 

21 Forerunners of the Republic : "Isaac Shelby," Neale's Monthly, March, 


his encampment. The disesteem in which he held the moun- 
taineers found expression in the passionate declaration: "I 
will never surrender to such damned banditti as the mountain 
men." His frenzied efforts on the battle-field seem like a 
mad rush against fate ; for his position was indefensible 
against the peculiar tactics of the frontiersmen. While the 
mountain flamed like a volcano and resounded with the thun- 
der of the guns, a steady stricture was in progress ; the lines 
were drawn tighter and tighter around the trapped and fran- 
tically struggling army ; and at last the fall of their com- 
mander, riddled with bullets, proved the mad futility of fur- 
ther resistance. The game was caught and bagged to a man. 
When Winston with his fox-hunters of Surry dashed reck- 
lessly through the woods, says a chronicler of the battle, and 
''the last to come into' position: 


'Flow'd iu, and settling, circled all the lists,' 

'From all the circle of the hills 
Death sleeted in upon the doomed.' "~ 


In reviewing the details of the battle, especial interest 
attaches here to everything which concerns Isaac Shelby. In 
a contemporary letter to his father, he gives the following 
terse account of the battle : 

That Providence who always rules and governs all things for the 
best, so ordered it that we were around them before we were discov- 
ered, and formed in such position, so as to fire on them nearly 
about (sic) the same time, though they heard us in time to form and 
stood ready. The battle continued warm for an hour; the enemy 
finding themselves so embarassed on all sides, surrendered them- 
selves prisoners to us at discretion. 

They had taken post at that place with the confidence that no force 
could rout them ; the mountain was high, and exceedingly steep, so 

22 J. W. de Peyster : "The Affair at King's Mountain." Reprinted from The 
Magazine of American History, Dec, 1880. Cf. also the same writer's sketch : 
"The Battle or Affair of King's Mountain," 1881. These give the extreme 
British view. 


that their situation gave them greatly the advantage ; indeed it was 
almost equal to storming a battery- In most cases we could not see 
them until we were within twenty yards of them. They repelled us 
three times with charged bayonets ; but being determined to conquer 
or die, we came up a fourth time, and fairly got possession of the top 
of the mountain. 23 

The final general order to the mountain men, before the 
engagement, was eloquent of the general determination: 
"Fresh prime your guns, and every man go into battle firmly 
resolved to fight till he dies!" 

"The enemy," says Eobert Campbell, "annoyed our troops 
very much from their advantageous position. Col. Shelby, 
being previously ordered to reconnoitre their position, observ- 
ing their situation, and what a destructive fire was kept up 
from those rocks, ordered Robert Campbell, one of the offi- 
cers of the Virginia Line, to move to the right with a small 
company to endeavor to dislodge them, and lead them on 
nearly to the ground which he had ordered therm under fire 
of the enemy's lines and within forty steps of the same; but 
discovering that our men were repulsed on the other side of 
the mountain, he gave orders to advance, and post themselves 
opposite to the rocks, and near to the enemy, and then re- 
turned to assist in bringing up the men in order, who had 
been charged with the bayonet. These orders were punc- 
tually obeyed, and they kept up such a galling fire as to com- 
pel Ferguson to order a company of regulars to face them, 
with a view to cover his men that were posted behind the rocks. 
At this time a considerable fire was drawn to this side of 
the mountain by the repulse of those on the other, and the 
Loyalists not being permitted to leave their posts. This 
scene was not of long duration, for it was the brave Virginia 
volunteers, and those under Col. Shelby, on their attempting 
rapidly to ascend the mountain, that were charged with the 
bayonet. They obstinately stood until some of them were 
thrust through the body, and having nothing but their rifles 
by which to defend themselves, they were forced to retreat. 

'■"Virginia Gazette, Nov. 4, 17S0. 


They were soon rallied by their gallant commanders, Camp- 
bell, Shelby, and other brave officers, and by a constant and 
well-directed fire of their rifles, drove them back in their turn, 
strewing the face of the mountain with their assailants, and 
kept advancing until they drove them from some of their 
posts." 24 Shelby's men, by his own statement, actually 
reached the summit of the mountain which "was covered with 
flame and smoke and seemed to thunder." 25 

The regiments of Shelby and Campbell began the attack; 
and the enemy first fired upon Shelby's men before they were 
in position. This galling fire distressed the mountaineers, 
who were heard to mutter that "it would never do to be shot 
down without returning the fire." To which the intrepid 
Shelby cooly replied : "Pass on to your places, and then your 
fire will not be lost." 26 Bancroft says : "Shelby, a man of the 
hardiest make, stiff as iron, among the dauntless singled out 
for dauntlessness, went right onward and upward like a man 
who had but one thing to do, and but one thought — to do it." 
Brave as he and his men were, says Draper, they, too 1 , had to 
retreat before the charging column, but firing as they retired. 
When, at the bottom of the hill, Shelby wanted to bring his 
men to order, he would cry out — "Now, boys, quickly reload 
your rifles, and give them another hell of a fire." 27 

Throughout the entire battle, Shelby's inspiriting battle- 
3ry was : "Never shoot until you see an enemy, and never see 
an enemy without bringing him down." 28 

Shelby was in the very front line of the fight from the 
outset of the engagement to its very close. "When the 
British were loudly calling for quarters, but uncertain 
whether they would be granted," says Benjamin Sharp, "I 
saw the intrepid Shelby rush his horse within fifteen paces of 
their lines, and commanded them to lay down their arms, and 
they should have quarters. Some would call this an impru- 

' 2i Annals of the Army of Tennessee, Oct., 1878. 
25 Haywood's Tennessee. 

26 Foote's Sketches of North Carolina (Graham's Sketch), p. 268. 
"MS. statement of Gen. Thomas Love, derived from Captain David Vance. 
£8 Nile's National Register, iv. 403. 


dent act, but it shows the daring bravery of the man." 29 As 
the demoralized Tories continued to cry "Quarters! Quar- 
ters!," Shelby fiercely shouted: "Damn you! If you want 
quarters, throw down your arms!" In a letter written by 
John Sevier to Isaac Shelby (Aug. 27, 1812), we read: "You 
were in the heat of the action. I frequently saw you ani- 
mating your men to victory. At the surrender, you were the 
first field officer I recollect to have seen. ... I per- 
fectly recollect on seeing you at the close of the action, that 

I swore by they had burnt off your hair, for it was much 

burnt on one side." 

Owing to the volley fired upon the victors by a returning 
foraging party of the British, a fire which killed the daring- 
General James Williams, the incensed Americans under 
Campbell's orders returned the fire, though the British had 
already surrendered. This created a very alarming situation, 
and Shelby, who feared that the enemy might yet, perhaps, 
snatch up their arms in self-defense and resume the battle, ex- 
claimed : "Good God ! What can we do in the confusion ?" 
"We can order the prisoners from their arms," said Captain 
Sawyers. "Yes," responded Shelby, "that can be done" ; and 
the prisoners were accordingly inarched off, and placed under 
a strong guard. 

Ferguson was mortally wounded near the close of the 
action; and as he was being carried off, the exultant Shelby 
rode up and with incredible callousness said to him, though 
doubtless life was then totally extinct: "Colonel, the fatal 
blow is struck — we've Burgoyned you." 30 In the division of* 
Ferguson's effects, the foot-long silver whistle, the piercing 
note of which had been heard again and again above the 
clamor and din of the battle, fell to Shelby's lot. 

According to expert military opinion, the plan of attack 
employed by the Americans was probably the only method 
of assault by which the British could have been defeated. 
Impartial examination of all the evidence available, which 

^American Pioneer, Feb., 1843. 

30 Related by Thos. H. Spelts and Thomas H. Shelby, a son of the Colonel. 


includes much material not accessible to Draper, leads to the 
conclusion that the chief credit for inaugurating the entire 
campaign belongs to Shelby. The nominal leadership was 
conferred upon Campbell ; and among the reasons, not already 
mentioned, assigned for giving him the chief command, were 
that he commanded the largest division of the forces and had 
come from the greatest distance. In the battle the conditions 
of combat enabled him to do little more than lead the men of 
his own division ; and this he did with conspicuous bravery 
and gallantry. It is scarcely to be doubted that the very- 
tactics pursued in the battle, the only tactics it would seem 
which could have been successful, were outlined, not by 
Campbell, but by Shelby himself. The following significant 
lines, from a letter written to Shelby by Colonel John Sevier, 
from Marble Springs, Tennessee, August 27, 1812, are elo- 
quent on the point : — 

As to the plan of attacking the enemy, yourself was the only person 
that named the mode to me, and the same was acceded to unani- 
mously. No doubt you recollect we argued on the manner of attack 
immediately after Ferguson's spies were taken, while we were a little 
in front of our army, and as we were returning back to Campbell and 
the other officers. 31 


A digression from the continuity of the narrative is neces- 
sary at this point, in order to bring to light valuable docu- 
ments, hitherto unpublished, which throw into truer perspec- 
tive the role played by Shelby in the King's Mountain cam- 
paign. They tend to correct some of the false impressions 
fostered by Roosevelt and, to a lesser degree, by Draper. 

On February 11, 1781, the North Carolina State Senate, 
in session at Halifax, placed the following on record : — 

Resolved, That the Speaker of this House be requested, with the 
Speaker of the Commons, to transmit to Colonel Campbell, of Vir- 

31 "Hero of Three Wars," by C. H. Todd, in Journal of American History, 
2nd number, 2nd volume, 1908. These lines from Sevier's letter have been 
omitted generally by historians, even by Draper in King's Mountain and Its 
Heroes (pp. 575-6). Such an omission is almost inexplicable. 


ginia, Colonel Cleveland, Colonel Shelby, and the brave Officers and 
Soldiers under their command the following address, to wit : 

Gentlemen : 

The General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, impressed 
with a deep sense of your eminent services during the last Summer's 
Campaign have unanimously resolved that the Speakers of the two 
Houses should transmit to you their warmest acknowledgments for 
your spirited and vigorous Exertions against the formidable body of 
British Forces under Major Ferguson at King's Mountain. The alac- 
rity with which you stepped forth uncalled for by Authority, your 
Vigilance in Marching to, and your conduct in, the attack of the 
Enemy, deserve the highest Encomiums, and strongly mark Patriot- 
ism and Heroism united in the same persons. To these Virtues, 
which you, Gentlemen, so happily possess, your Country is indebted 
for the important Victory which frustrated the schemes of the enemy, 
awed many of the disaffected into submission, and rescued the west- 
ern parts of this State from devastation and ruin and the horrors 
attendant on a War directed by Tyranny and pursued with vindic- 
tive Resentment. 

We do therefore in obedience to the order of the two Houses and 
with the highest satisfaction to ourselves transmit to you the thanks 
of your country by its representatives in General Assembly. 

Ordered that the foregoing Address with the following Message be 
sent the Commons for concurrence. 

Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen : 

We send for your approbation an address proposed by this House 
to be presented the officers who distinguished themselves in the cap- 
ture of the British, commanded by Major Ferguson, at King's Moun- 

Resolved, that an elegant mounted sword be presented to each of 
the following officers, that is to say, Colo. Cleveland, of Wilkes 
County, Colonel Campbell of Virginia, Colonel Shelby of Sullivan 
County, Lieutenant Colonel Sevier of Washington County, Lieutenant 
Colonel Hambright of Lincoln County, Major Winston of Surry 
County and Major Shelby of Sullivan County for their voluntary and 
distinguished services in the defeat of Major Ferguson at the battle 
of King's Mountain. 

An extraordinary series of blunders, which to this day have 
remained unexplained, now took place in connection with 
the "resolution" above-mentioned. The original journal of 
the assembly, as well as the printed copy, contains a message 
from the House to the Senate, approving of the "address" 


above-mentioned; but nowhere in the original journal is rec- 
ord or even mention made of any action taken by the House 
upon the Senate "resolution" concerning the swords. That 
no steps were taken to procure and present the swords men- 
tioned in the resolution was doubtless clue to the fact that the 
journal contained no record of the joint concurrence of 
House and Senate in this "resolution" ; and consequently no 
committee was appointed to carry out the terms of the "reso- 
lution." Shelby and Sevier both believed that the swords had 
been voted them by the Assembly. 32 

The question which remains unanswered until the present 
day is : "Did the Legislature of North Carolina in February, 
1781, vote the swords to Shelby, Sevier, Winston, and the 
others mentioned in the 'resolution' ?" The original manu- 
script of the "resolution" itself, still preserved, and now in 
the Archives of the North Carolina Historical Commission, 
conclusively shows that the swords were thus voted. Upon it 
are inscribed the following: — 

In the H Commons 11 Feby 1781 
Concurred with 
By order 

Jno Hunt C H C 

and the endorsement : 

llth Feby laid over til Tomorrow morning. 

The "resolution" was "laid over" until February 12, 
awaiting action upon the "address" ; and the "address," bear- 
ing the approval of the House, was received by the Sen- 
ate on February 13. The explanation of the blunder is 
probably due to the careless reading of the secretary who 
compiled the journal in failing to note, and so, to record, that 
the "address" and the "resolution" were two different things 
and that both had been concurred with by the House. 

S2 N. C. State Records, xvii, 696-7, 704, support the statements made above. 
In his Annals of Tennessee, 248, Ramsey is in error in stating that the General 
Assembly of North Carolina in 1781 "passed a resolution that a sword and 
pistols should be presented to both Shelby and Sevier." As printed in the 
N. C. State Records, xvii, 697, "Lewis" is a misprint for "Sevier." 


Shortly after the battle of King's Mountain, the General 
Assembly of Virginia "ordered that a good horse, with ele- 
gant furniture, and a sword" be presented to William Camp- 
bell. 33 Singularly enough, Virginia like North Carolina 
was inexplicably dilatory in carrying out the will of the Gen- 
eral Assembly. At the instance of friends of the late Wil- 
liam Campbell, the General Assembly of Virginia in 1809, it 
appears, caused a handsome and costly sword, purchased in 
France, to be presented to William Campbell Preston, Wil- 
liam Campbell's grandson. 

When this information reached Shelby in 1809, it pro- 
duced, as he acknowledges, "some feelings of emulation and 
solicitude, and a sense that equal justice had not been done 
to all who participated in that memorable achievement." 
Accordingly, he engaged in private correspondence with John 
Sevier on the subject; and years afterwards frankly acknowl- 
edged that the object of the letters was "to concert with him 
(Sevier) the means of reminding North Carolina of her 
ancient promise, and of obtaining those swords which thirty 
years before had been voted to us, as the honorable memorials 
of our good conduct, and our country's approbation." Shelby 
confessed to his very natural sense of the injustice in the 
recognition of Campbell, while Sevier and himself remained 
unrecognized. 34 


During the political campaign of 1812, when Shelby was 
making the race for the governorship of Kentucky, false- 
hoods were freely circulated against him, minimizing the part 
he played in the King's Mountain campaign. To meet these 
charges, an article signed "Narrator" appeared in the Keiv- 
tucky Reporter, July 25, 1812, giving undue credit to Shelby 
as leader of the King's Mountain campaign and casting un- 
worthy aspersions upon the bravery of Colonel Campbell. 
The article was replied to in the same paper, of June 20, 

^Summers : Southwest Virginia, 337-9. 

34 See Governor Shelby's pamphlet : "Battle of King's Mountain." 


1813, by William C. Preston, who made a spirited vindication 
of the charge of cowardice preferred against his grandfather. 
Nine years later, the controversy broke forth anew, when 
Colonel George Washington Sevier caused to be published in 
the Nashville Gazette four private letters written to his 
father, John Sevier, by Isaac Shelby. In one of these let- 
ters, (January 1, 1810), Shelby makes the damaging charge: 

It is a fact well known, and for which he (Campbell) apologized 
to me the day after the action, that he was not within less than one 
quarter of a mile of the enemy at the time they surrendered to you 
and myself. 

This brought forth from William C. Preston another state- 
ment in the newspapers of the day, entitled "Colonel Camp- 
bell and Governor Shelby," claiming the chief honors of the 
victory at King's Mountain for his grandfather, and vehe- 
mently repelling the insinuation of cowardice contained in 
Shelby's private letter to Sevier, lately given to the public by 
G. W. Sevier. 

An elaborate survey and investigation of the whole ques- 
tion was then made by Shelby and published as a pamphlet 
in 1823. 35 Extended replies to this pamphlet were made: 
by William C. Preston in the Telescope of Columbia, S. C, 
May 10, 1823, and by General John Campbell in the 
Enquirer of Richmond, Va., June 24, 1823. This pro- 
longed and regrettable controversy had certain important con- 
sequences, and resulted in establishing certain cardinal facts 
touching the conduct of Campbell, Shelby and Sevier. Camp- 
bell's fame remained entirely undimmed by the charges of 
Shelby, who, clearly, had misinterpreted a remark made by 
Campbell on the battle-field ; and furthermore Shelby was 
utterly misled, through the fact that Campbell's body servant 
rode his horse during the battle, into the belief that Campbell 
remained in the rear during the action. The credit for initi- 
ating the campaign, it was clearly established, belonged to 
Shelby, who acted in concert with Sevier. There is no reason 

36 Appendix to Draper's King's Mountain and Its Heroes, 560-582. 


to doubt that Shelby was entirely honest in believing the 
charges, however unworthy and untrue, which he preferred 
against Campbell. 

In his article in the Telescope, Wm. C. Preston published 
an affidavit of Colonel Matthew Willoughby, in which he dis- 
credited the testimony of Moses Shelby, brother of Isaac, who 
had testified in the Shelby pamphlet (1823) that during the 
latter half of the battle of King's Mountain, Campbell re- 
mained stationary near the foot of the mountain, in plain 
sight of him. Colonel Willoughby deputed that "the statement 
of Moses Shelby would not, perhaps, be credited, from the 
character he bore about the time and after the battle, as he, 
with others, was engaged in plundering in the Carolinas, both 
Whigs and Tories, and running the property so plundered to 
this side of the mountains." 

The following letter from Isaac Shelby to John J. Critten- 
den, famous Kentuckian, who had been Shelby's Aide-de- 
camp on the Canadian campaign in the War of 1812, is im- 
portant as giving valuable evidence, not only concerning the 
character of Moses Shelby, but also in regard to the battle of 
King's Mountain. It was evidently not seen by Draper, or 
by Roosevelt, who accepts, apparently without question, the 

charges against Moses Shelby. 

Danville, June 16th, 1823. 

My Dear Sie, — You have no doubt before this seeu the replies of 
both General Preston and his son to rny publication. Colonel Preston 
proposes to establish for his own father the merit of planning the 
expedition which led to Ferguson's defeat. 

I have examined the subject in my own mind in every point of 
view, and cannot in the remotest manner discover wherein General 
Preston could have had any agency in this exploit. I lived nearly 
one hundred and twenty miles from him, in a different State, and had 
no kind of communication with him on the subject, and from every 
recollection, I am convinced that the statement I gave you is indis- 
putably true. I recollect, however, that Major Cloyd, with three hun- 
dred men from the county of Montgomery, commanded by Colonel 
Preston, fought an action with the Tories at the shallow ford of the 
Yadkin River, nearly one hundred miles north of King's Mountain, 
about two weeks after the defeat of Ferguson. It has always been 
a mystery to me as to Cloyd's destination, or that of the enemy whom 


he encountered. I have only understood that they met accidentally 
in the road, and that the enemy was composed of the enemies in 
the neighborhood, and of the Bryants, of Kentucky, some of whom 
were killed in the fight. 

If Ferguson was Cloyd's object, he was too weak to effect anything, 
and besides, Lord Cornwallis, with the British army, lay directly in 
the route between them. My convictions are so clear on this point 
I have no fear that General Preston can render my statement doubt- 
ful. He proposes, too, to invalidate the testimony of Moses Shelby. 
I will, for your own satisfaction, give you a short sketch of his his- 
tory. Moses was in his nineteenth year when he left his father's 
house to join the expedition against Ferguson and had never before, 
to my knowledge, been more than forty miles from home. It is well 
known that our march was too rapid for a youth of that age to tres- 
pass in any manner, the army having marched two or three hundred 
miles, and fought the battle in twelve days, three of which we were 
detained on the road from different causes. Moses was severely 
wounded at the Mountain, and the bone of one thigh being fractured, 
he could be carried but a short distance from the battle-ground, where 
he lay on his back nearly three months, and was only able to ride 
out a few days before General Morgan came up into the district of 
Ninety-Six. He joined Morgan but a day or two before the battle 
of the Cowpens, on the 17th of January, 1781. Here he was wounded 
more severely than at the Mountain, and lay, until March or April, 
under the hands of a surgeon. When Colonel Clarke, of Georgia, 
came on with his followers to commence the siege of Augusta, his 
wounds were still sore and open, but at the warm solicitations of 
Clarke, Moses joined the expedition, and was appointed Captain of 
horse. It is well known that the siege lasted until May or June fol- 
lowing, in which Moses was actively engaged, and Clarke asserted 
to many that he made several charges on the enemy, who sallied dur- 
ing the siege, which would have done honor to Count Pulaski. 
Moses returned home shortly after the siege, and never crossed the 
mountains again during the war. The next year, 1782, he, with other 
adventurers, went to the new settlements, then forming where Nash- 
ville now stands, where he continued off and on until he married, 
two or three years afterwards. As the settlements progressed down 
the Cumberland, he was always among the foremost of the pioneers. 
He finally settled in what is now called Livingston County, Kentucky, 
where at the unanimous solicitation of the inhabitants, he was 
appointed colonel of the new county, about the year 1793. He had the 
command for a number of years. And after the acquisition of Louisi- 
ana, he removed to that territory, and now resides on the west side 
of the Mississippi, two miles below New Madrid, covered with the 
scars of thirteen deep wounds, received in defence of his country, for 
which he is too proud to receive a pension, always disdaining to 
apply for one. In his youth he was of a warm and ardent disposition, 


always ready to risk his life for a friend, and profuse of his property 
(of which he had a considerable inheritance), even to a fault. It 
would exceed the bounds of a letter to give you a statement of the 
many hair-breadth escapes and imminent dangers through which 
he passed. Soon after his marriage, he became impressed with 
religious sentiments, joined the Methodist Church, liberated his slaves, 
and, so far as I know and believe, has always supported a good 
character in that county. 

It is possible, while at the South, in 17S0-81, from his ardent dis- 
position and the prevailing excitement of the times, that he may in 
some cases have acted imprudently. The war between the Whigs and 
Tories was carried on with the utmost rancor and malice, each 
endeavoring to do the greatest injury to the other. 

Colonel Willoughby, whose affidavit has been published, swears to 
no point. He lived three hundred miles from the scene of action, and 
his information may have been very erroneous. 

If, however, General Preston proves apparently anything more, he 
shall be answered. 

I have made this hasty sketch for your own satisfaction. 

I remain, dear Sir, very respectfully, your friend, 

Isaac Shelby. 

John J. Crittenden. 38 


After their exchanges of letters in 1810, Shelby and Sevier, 
throwing conventional modesty to the winds, prepared a joint 
memorial to the General Assembly of North Carolina. This 
was presented by the Senator from Snrry, Joseph Winston, on 
December 15, 1812, of which the following record is found: 

Mr. Winston presented the memorial of Issac (sic) Shelby and 
John Sevier, setting forth that in consideration of public services 
rendered during our revolutionary war, and particularly for their 
conduct at the battle of King's Mountain, the Legislature of the State 
of North Carolina, in the year 1781, did vote each of the memorialists 
an elegant sword and pair of pistols, which they have not heretofore 
applied for or received ; and they pray that this testimonial of the 
approbation of the state for their conduct be now complied with. 
This memorial being read, was referred to the committee of Proposi- 
tions and Grievances, and sent to the House of Commons. 37 

The matter was later referred to a special committee con- 
sisting of Messrs. Porter and W. W. Jones on the part of the 

36 Mrs. C. Coleman : The Life of John J. Crittenden, v, 56-8 (1871). 
""Senate Journal, 1812. 


House, and Messrs. Atkinson and Gaston on the part of the 
Senate. On December 22, 1812, Mr. Gaston submitted an 
extended report after investigation, in which it is stated: 

Your committee And, upon an examination of the journal of the 
House of Commons, that the proposed address obtained the approba- 
tion and concurrence of the house ; but they do not find any determi- 
nation relative to the second resolution of the Senate, nor any minute 
that such resolution had been received by them. Your committee, 
however, have been informed, and so believe, that the House of Com- 
mons did concur with the Senate in this latter resolution, as well as 
in that for presenting to their patriots and heroes the thanks of the 
Legislature. 38 

In order to pay what Gaston describes as "the long pro- 
crastinated debt of gratitude and honor," the House and Sen- 
ate unanimously passed the following : — 

Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be requested to procure 
three elegant swords, such as in his estimation is (sic) not unworthy 
of North Carolina to bestow, on those who have distinguished claims 
on the gratitude of her citizens ; and that he cause them severally to 
be presented, in the name of this State, to General Isaac Shelby, of 
Kentucky, General John Sevier of Tennessee, and Colonel Joseph 
Winston of this State, the three surviving chiefs of the gallant band 
who fought and conquered at King's Mountain, on the memorable 7th 
of October, 1780. 39 

In carrying out the resolution, Governor William Haw- 
kins enlisted the services of the Hon. James Turner, at that 
time representing North Carolina in the United States Sen- 
ate. At the instance of Mr. Turner, the swords were pur- 
chased in New York by Mr. Robert Walker of Petersburg, 
assisted by Colonel Swift. The swords thus procured, accord- 
ing to instruction, were "in point of elegance inferior to none 
that can be procured." The sword presented to Shelby, with 
which the others were identical save for name, bore upon 

38 Senate Journal. It seems extraordinary that a man of Gaston's legislative 
experience should have omitted to examine the original manuscript of the Sen- 
ate resolution of February 11, 1781, which would have resolved all his doubts. 

39 It is a source of lasting regret that another regrettable oversight was made 
at this time. A fourth leader in the King's Mountain campaign whose name 
was included in the original resolution, was Lieutenant Colonel Hambright, of 
Lincoln County, who survived until March, 1S17. Grave injustice was done, 
in that no sword was presented to Lieutenant Colonel Hambright in 1813. 


one side of the hilt the inscription: "King's Mountain — Oc- 
tober 7, 1780/' upon the other: "State of North Carolina to 
Colonel Isaac Shelby." Writing to Governor Hawkins from 
Warren County on September 19, 1813, the Hon. James Tur- 
ner says concerning these swords: "The one for Col. Shelby 
was forwarded through the politeness if Mr. Clay, the 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. The one for Col. 
Savier (sic) was delivered to him by myself (he being in 
Washington). The one for Col. Winston was forwarded to 
him by Mr. Yancey, one of the members of Congress from 
this State. The letters of the Gentlemen was (sic) delivered 
and forwarded by the same Gentlemen who took charge of 
the swords." 40 

The following letter, just referred to, was sent to Isaac 
Shelby, then Governor of Kentucky, by Governor William 
Hawkins of North Carolina. 41 

Executive Office, N. C. 

Raleigh 17th, July 1813. 

Sib, In compliance with a resolution of the General Assembly of 
this State passed at their last Session I have the honor of tendering 
you the sword which this letter accompanies as a testimony of the 
distinguished claim you have on the gratitude of the State for your 
gallantry in achieving with your brothers in arms the glorious victory 
over the British forces commanded by Colo. Ferguson at the battle of 
King's Mountain on the memorable 7th of October 1780. This tribute 
of respect though bestowed at a protracted period, will not be con- 
sidered the less honorable on that account when you are informed 
that it is in unison with a resolution of the General Assembly passed 
in the year 1781, which from some cause not well ascertained, it is to 
be regretted was not complied with. 

Permit me Sir, to make you an expression of the high gratification 
felt by me at being the favored instrument to present to you in the 
name of the State of North Carolina, this testimonial of gratitude — 
this meed of valour, and to remark, that contending as we are at the 
present time with the same foe for our just rights the pleasing hope 
may be entertained that the valorous deeds of the heroes of our 

^Governor Hawkins' Letter Book, 1812-3, 429. For assistance in making 
these researches, I am indebted to Mr. R. D. W. Connor, Secretary of the N. C. 
Historical Commission. 

"An exact transcript of the same letter was likewise transmitted to General 
John Sevier, of Tennessee, and Colonel Joseph Winston, of North Carolina. 
Cf. Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, pp. 248-254, and "The Life and Times of 
Major Joseph Winston," by G. T. Winston (Guilford Battleground Company, 


Revolution will animate the Soldier of the existing War and nerve 
his arm in laudable emulation to like achievements. 

I beg you to accept an assurance of the great consideration and 
respect with which, 

I have the honor to be 

Your obedient Servent 

William Hawkins. 42 

This recognition on the part of North Carolina, fitly 
enough, came with dramatic emphasis at a moment of crisis 
in the career of Governor Shelby and of the State of Ken- 
tucky. In his memorable oration, delivered at Lexington, 
Kentucky, on August 15, 1826, the Hon. William Taylor 
Barry thus described the event : 

Colonel Shelby was at his residence in Lincoln County, enjoying in 
affluence, the sweets of domestic life, when he was again called upon 
to assume the helm of State. At the advanced age of 63, had he 
wanted an apology, this was an ample one ; but his mind was char- 
acterized by constancy and invincible firmness. He saw his beloA r ed 
country, for whose independence he had fought in his youth, again 
in imminent danger, assailed by the same inveterate foe. The fire 
of patriotism rekindled in his bosom, he did not hesitate, but aban- 
doning the allurements of ease, and listening only to the voice of 
honor, we see him again with youthful ardour, entering upon the 
executive duties, boldly hazarding his reputation in the contingencies 
of a war, the glorious results of which were yet in the womb of time. 
The volunteers from Kentucky who had gone forth to battle, notwith- 
standing the bravery and good conduct of their officers, had met with 
sad reverses. The dreadful defeats at the River Raisin, and the 
Rapids of the Miami, had deprived our State of many gallant and 
patriotic citizens, and filled the country with mourning ; the cruelties 
practised by the savage allies of England, and countenanced by the 
British officers, was the cause of deep and powerful excitement ; the 
public indignation was aroused and our militia, anxious to revenge 
their slaughtered countrymen, were impatient to be led to battle. 
Shelby thought the time had arrived to put an end to the contest in 
that quarter, and resolved to take the field in person. As he was 
preparing for the campaign, a happy incident occurred. The deliv- 
ery of the sword voted him by the Legislature of North Carolina in 
1781, had, from some cause, been delayed, and was handed to him 

42 From the Letter Book of Governor William Hawkins, 1812-1813, pp. 291-2. 
Collections of the North Carolina Historical Commission. For a copy of this 
letter I am indebted to Mr. R. D. W. Connor, Secretary of the N. C Historical 
Commission. The letter to General Sevier, the duplicate of the present letter, 
is printed in Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, 249. 


just in time to be used in acquiring fresh laurels. Proud emblem of 
victory — glorious remembrancer of the gallantry and heroism of two 

wars. 43 

In the march to Lake Erie and Canada, the famous hero of 
the Kevolution not without deep emotions of pride and reli- 
gious fervor, "wore upon his thigh a sword just presented to 
him by Henry Clay, in the name of the State of North Caro- 
lina, in testimony of appreciation of his services in the old 
war for independence." 44 

With the sword was tendered the following letter to Shelby 

from Henry Clay: 

Lexington, 22d August, 1813. 
My dear Sik, — I have seen by the public prints that you intend lead- 
ing a detachment from this state. As you will want a sword, I have 
the pleasure to inform you that I am charged by Governor Turner 
and Mr. Macon with delivering to you that which the State of North 
Carolina voted you in testimony of the sense it entertained of your 
conduct at King's Mountain. I would take it with me to Frankfort, 
in order that I might personally execute the commission and at the 
same time have the gratification of seeing you, if I were not excess- 
ively oppressed with fatigue. I shall not fail, however, to avail 
myself of the first safe conveyance, and if any should offer to you, 
I will thank you to inform me. May it acquire additional lustre in 
the patriotic and hazardous enterprise in which you are embarking ! 

Your friend, 

H. Clay. 

The bearer of the letter and the sword was a common friend, 
William T. Barry, quoted above, who delivered them to Gov- 
ernor Shelby at Frankfort. 

The venerable soldier, with his characteristic energy once 
again taking the field in defense of the liberties of his country, 
in acknowledgment of the gift of North Carolina wrote the 
following interesting letter, hitherto unpublished, to the Gov- 
ernor of North Carolina. 

43 "0n the Death of Adams, Jefferson and Sheluy," in Year Book, 1913, of 
Kentucky Society Sons of the Revolution. Barry had been Secretary and Aide- 
de-Canip to General Shelby on the expedition to Canada in 1813 ; and after- 
wards became very distinguished in the public life of Kentucky. At one time 
he was Postmaster General in President Jackson's cabinet. 

44 B. J. Lossing : Field Book of the War of 1812, 544-5. 



Government House Frankfort Kentucky. 
August 26th, 1813. 
Sir, On the 23d inst. I had the honor of receiving your letter of 
the 17th ulto. tendering to me, a Sword which accompanied it, 
bestowed by North Carolina as a testimony of the flattering senti- 
ments which she entertained in relation to my conduct in the affair of 
the 7th of October 1780 on King's Mountain. 

Engaged as my beloved country then was in a struggle for every 
thing dear to man, she had a right to expect the zealous exertions 
of her citizens in her behalf. Devoted to the cause of my country, 
impelled by a high sense of the obligations, I owed her, and by an 
utter aversion to the tyranny which was endeavouring to oppress 
her, I freely participated in those exertions which lead to, & that 
conflict which terminated so favorable to our arms, & evidently gave 
a favorable turn to the Revolutionary War, and in relation to which 
the Legislature of North Carolina have been pleased to express them- 
selves in a manner the most flattering to my feelings. 

If the freeborn sons of America wanted any stimulus to draw them 
forth in defence of her rights, other than a conviction that upon 
their exertions depended the continuance of those rights — it might be 
found in the heartfelt satisfaction derived from the consolation of 
having meritted and received the applause of a grateful [country] for 
the toils and dangers encountered in her behalf. 

Having lived ten years of the happiest part of my life in North 
Carolina and having received repeated marks of the partiality of my 
fellow citizens in that Government during my residence amongst them, 
I have ever entertained the warmest feelings of fraternal affection, 
and good will for them. And I now accept with veneration & respect 
this honorable pledge of a continuance of their affection. 
With considerations of high respect and Esteem 
I have the honor to be 
Most respectfully 

Your Ob Servant 

Isaac Shelby. 
His Excellency 

William Hawkins 

Governor of North Carolina. 45 

15 From the Letter Book of Governor William Hawkins, 1812-3, pp. 414-5. 
Collections of the North Carolina Historical Commission. For this copy I am 
indebted to Mr. R. D. W. Connor. Secretary of the N. C. Historical Commission. 



The battle of King's Mountain was decisive in its effect — 
shattering the plans of Cornwallis which till then appeared 
certain of success, and putting a full stop to the invasion of 
North Carolina, then well under way. Cornwallis abandoned 
his prepared campaign and left the State. The initiative of 
the borderers, the loyalty of the militia, the energy of the 
pursuit, the perfection of the surprise, all reinforced by 
ideal tactics to meet the given situation, were the controlling 
factors in this overwhelming victory, and pivotal contest of 
the Revolution. The pioneers of the Old Southwest — the 
independent and aggressive yeomanry of North Carolina, 
Virginia, and South Carolina — had risen in their might; 
and without the authority of blundering State governments, 
had created an army of frontiersmen, Indian fighters, and 
big game hunters which found no parallel or equal on the 
continent since the battle of the Great Kanawha.* 

The survey of the situation as given by Shelby is interest- 
ing as coming from a participant in the events : 

This battle happened at the most gloomy and critical period of 
the Revolutionary War, and was the first link in the great chain of 
events in the South that established the independence of the United 
States. It was achieved by raw and undisciplined riflemen without 
any authority from the Government under which they lived. It com- 
pletely dispirited the Tories and so much alarmed Lord Cornwallis, 
who then lay at Charlottstown with the British grand army that on 
being informed of Ferguson's total defeat and overthrow by the 
riflemen from the west, and that they were bearing down upon him, 
three thousand strong, he ordered an immediate retreat, marched all 
night in the utmost confusion and retrograded as far back as Winns- 
borough seventy or eighty miles, from whence he did not attempt to 
advance until reinforced by General Leslie from the Chesapeake with 
2,000 men. three months afterward. In the meantime the militia of 
North Carolina assembled in considerable force at New Providence 
on the borders of South Carolina under General Davidson. General 
Smallwood with General Morgan's light corps, and the Maryland line 

♦Narratives of the King's Mountain campaign, which have proved of value in 
this research, are the accounts of General Joseph Graham (Southern Literary 
Messenger, September 1845), Geneal William Lenoir (Wheeler's Sketches of 
Noi-th Carolina, ii, 105-108) and Captain David Vance (Greensboro N C 
edited by D. L. Schenck, 1891). 


advanced to the same point. General Gates with the shattered 
remains of his army collected at Hillsborough also came up and the 
new levies (?) from Virginia under General Stephens of 1,000 men 
came forward. At the same time, (to wit) the second or third of 
December, General Green came up and took the command, and thus 
was dispelled the dismal gloom which had pervaded the Southern 

Following the battle of King's Mountain, the patriot force 
hanged nine Tory prisoners. This act has been severely con- 
demned ; but it is scarcely to be doubted that nothing short 
of such drastic action would have had a decisively deterrent 
effect upon future Tory murderings and depredations. Shel- 
by's own account of this seemingly inexcusable and ruthless 
act is quoted here, both as a picture of the times and as a 
recital of Shelby's own part in the matter : 

The prisoners were marched back on the trail that the army had 
advanced upon, as well to join the men who were left behind with 
weak horses and on foot, as to avoid Lord Cornwallis who they be- 
lieved to be only thirty or forty miles to the North (incoherent) after 
meeting the footmen and took a circuitous route towards the Moun- 
tains by Gilbert town, where we met an American officer paroled 
from Ninety six only the day before, who informed, that he had seen 
eleven American citizens hung at that place within a few days past, 
merely for their attachment to the cause of their country. This very 
much exasperated the American officers, at the same time a Repre- 
sentative from Assembly which just set at Hillsborough came into 
camp and had with him the manuscript of a law, authorizing two jus- 
tices within the State of North Carolina, to cause to be apprehended 
any citizen or loyalist who might be found in arms against his 
country, and if found guilty of treason to order him to immediate 
execution without any pleading in the case. The army with the 
prisoners were by this time in Rutherford County in North Carolina, 
a Sheriff of which, as well as several Justices of the Peace of the 
said County, were also in camp. Our Commander called a Council 
of officers to deliberate on the subject, who determined unanimously to 
try several of the prisoners under the aforesaid act of Assembly. 
The 8th day after the action they commenced trying them early in 
the morning beginning with the most atrocious offender first who had 
committed murder deliberately in cold blood, and who had otherwise 
murdered and destroyed the families of the Whigs, burned down 
houses, etc., and committed the most atrocious crimes. They con- 
tinued to try them until they had condemned 36 to be hung, and at 
two o'clock in the night following commenced hanging them, after they 


had hung nine of them, three at a time, and the fourth parcel of 
them was just about to be turned off the scaffold it was agreed on 
by Sevier, Cleveland and Shelby upon a motion of the latter, that they 
would put a stop to any further execution, and addressed Campbell on 
the subject, who readily came into their views, and released the 
three men that were then under the gallows to be executed, one of 
whom informed that Tarlton would be upon us next morning, that a 
woman had come into camp in the evening, and gave the information 
to the British officers, who communicated it to the Tories. The 
Americans immediately all mounted their horses, and were ready to 
march as soon as it was light enough to see for the night was 
excessively dark ; as soon as they could see the way they started 
directly toward the mountains, got into level valley that lead imme- 
diately toward the North. We had not marched a mile before 
DePeyster rode up to Col. Shelby and enquired "which way was that 
they were going," to which the Col. replied, that they were going up 
into their native element, the mountains. When DePeyster cried out, 
"you smell a rat," Shelby replied that they knew all about it. It 
commenced raining just after daylight, and was I believe, the wettest 
day I have even seen since ; so heavy was the rain that many parts 
of the valley became waist deep. The Americans continued their 
march until two o'clock that night, although it was dark as pitch, and 
the road could be seen by the continued flashes of lightning, when 
they came to the Catawba River which they supposed to be rising 
very fast from the quantity of rain that had fallen. The prisoners 
were forced into the water in a column of six deep as they usually 
marched, and ordered to hold fast to each other as the current was 
very strong. Our march that day and night was 36 miles and the 
river next morning had risen 10 feet. This escape excited feelings of 
the deepest gratitude in the breasts of the Americans, after they had 
reached a place of safety. It was a well known fact to all men who 
lived in that day, that the execution of these nine prisoners, put a 
stop to the hanging of any more American citizens at Camden and 
Ninety-six, where several hundred persons had been previously 
executed at those two places, purely for their attachment to the 
American cause. The prisoners taken at King's Mountain were given 
up by the Mountaineers to the militia assembled at Moravian Town 
to receive them, and afterwards marched to Salisbury where they 
were crowded into the jail and other houses prepared to receive 

No account with any pretensions, either to accuracy or 
consecutiveness, has ever been given of the relation of Shelby, 
Sevier and the western leaders, to the cause of the Revolu- 
tion subsequent to the Battle of King's Mountain. The his- 
tories teem with inaccuracies and inexplicable confusions of 


names and dates. The recent discovery of letters and docu- 
ments, bearing on this period, make it possible for me to give 
for the first time, I believe, a reliable and consistent account 
of the role played by Shelby and some of the other frontier 
leaders in the closing years of the Revolution. 

There is an interesting revelation of vanity in Shelby's 
Autobiography, in which he claims the credit, usually 
ascribed to General Nathaniel Greene, for the plan of cam- 
paign which eventuated in Morgan's defeat of Tarleton. 
This passage gives us an account also of Shelby's movements, 
following the delivery of the prisoners taken at King's Moun- 
tain to the authorities at Salem: 

When the British had gotten possession of the posts of Ninety Six 
and Augusta, they had an open communication with the Southern 
Indians, and furnished them with arms and ammunition by which 
means the Cherokees were enabled to wage a constant war against 
the new settlements forming on the western waters of North Caro- 
lina. Col. Shelby had long viewed this evil without being able to 
devise any means to prevent it. But after the prisoners taken at 
King's Mountain were disposed of at Moravian town, he set out from 
there to go to Headquarters, to solicit the Commander-in-Chief to 
send Gen. Morgan with his light troops into the upper country, to 
subdue those two posts. He knew from his own knowledge that 
Morgan would be strongly reinforced by the mountain men, and 
many others who had left their homes in the upper parts of Georgia 
and South Carolina rather than submit to the enemy. He found 
headquarters at a place called New Providence on the border of 
South Carolina, and under the command of Maj. Gen. Smallwood. 
He first communicated the object of his visit to camp to Gen. Morgan 
who seemed highly pleased and gratified at the suggestions made to 
him, readily entered into his views, saw at once the probable chance 
of success and said it was just what he had wanted, a separate 
command. He also made these suggestions to Gen. Smallwood, think- 
ing he might possibly order Morgan on but although he highly ap- 
proved the measure, he would not take upon himself the responsi- 
bility, as Gen. Gates would be in himself in a few days, and advised 
him to wait his arrival. He waited in camp upwards of a fortnight, 
when it was announced that Gen. Gates was near at hand. He set 
out next morning with six or eight officers to go to him and meet him 
about seven miles from camp with the remains of his army col- 
lected at Hillsborough. On Gates' arrival at camp he invited Shelby 
to dine with him the next day. He was proud to have an oppor- 
tunity to make his communications, and went before the usual hour. 


Gen. Gates gave him a cordial reception and invited him in. Col. 
Shelby replied that he had some important communications to make 
to him, that he had come early for that purpose, and would be glad 
if he would afford him an opportunity to do so. Gates pointing to a 
log a few rods from his door proposed to sit down on it. Before he 
heard all that Shelby had to say, he saw the practicability and 
importance of the measure proposed and observed, that if the board 
of war of North Carolina then sitting at Charlottstown would aid 
him with five hundred militia, he would send Morgan up with his 
light corps immediately. Gen. Gates was accordingly on horseback 
next morning before sunrise, and as he passed with his guards by 
Davidson's marked where Shelby lodged ; he joined him, and they 
arrived early at Charlotte. Gates opened the subject to the board 
of war — which consisted of Alexander Martin alone (who was then 
or shortly after Governor of the State) who very soon saw the 
propriety of the measure and requested Shelby to stay until next 
morning, and take some communications to the Northern counties of 
the State, which was on his way home where the men must be raised, 
which he did ; for the counties around Charlotte had been drained to 
form the camp at New Providence which then opposed the enemy. 
Col. Shelby set out the next morning, from Charlotte, which was 
about the 2d or 3d of December, 1780, and met Gen. Green about 
three miles from town, going forward to take command of the 
Southern army. Shelby had no idea that Tarlton, or any force would 
be sent up to oppose Morgan in that distant upper county, he only 
contemplated the reduction of the two posts, Ninety Six and Augusta. 
And if Gen. Green is entitled to any credit for the defeat of Tarlton 
by Morgan, it is merely that he permitted the enterprise to go on 
which led to that event, and which had been planned and ordered by 
Gen. Gates (on the suggestion of Shelby before he was superseded, 
and before Green took the command ) Col. Shelby was at a loss to 
determine why so much time had elapsed from Green's taking the 
command on the 17th of January unless it was owing to the tardi- 
ness of the militia orders by the board of war as before stated, to 
John Morgan, or to the scarcity of provisions. For he can say of his 
own knowledge that there was never more than two days provisions 
at any one time while he stayed in the camp near three weeks ; the 
country at that time being drained of supplies. 


The value which was universally set upon the services of 
the over-mountain men and their leaders, Shelby and Sevier, 
following the overwhelming victory of King's Mountain is 
fully attested in documents of the period. The following 


letter, taken in conjunction with the above-quoted passage 
from Shelby's Autobiography, is significant : 

Camp New Providence, 23d November, 1780. 

Sir : Colo. Shelby have been in camp for some time, waiting to lend 
his Aid, should anything go on offensive, but apprehending not much 
will be done this winter. And his domestick business call for him, 
and he having no command, is now on his way home. I have been 
speaking to him to raise about three hundred good rifle men this 
winter for the campaign. & join me early in the spring. He says 
he would willingly undertake it, provided he had a sanction for it. 
How far the Assembly of North Carolina would be disposed to 
countenance such a thing I don't know, but I assure you that a 
Number of such men would be a valuable Corps when annex'd to the 
Light Infantry, which must be made equal if not superior to Tarlton's 
Legion before this country can be defended. If you think proper to 
countenance a matter of this kind, you'll be kind enough to signify 
your approbation to Colo. Shelby and point out the mode. 

I have the Honor to be, with much 

Esteem, your obedt. servt. 

Danl. Morgan. 
The Honble. M. Genl. Gates. 

The greatest contemporary tribute to the leaders of the 
King's Mountain campaign, showing the high estimation in 
which their services were held and the need generally felt for 
the assistance to the American cause they could render, is 
found in the following action taken by the North Carolina 
Assembly at Halifax on February 13, 1781 : 

Resolved, That Colonel Isaac Shelby of Sullivan County and John 
Sevier, Esqr., of Washington County, be informed by this Resolve 
being communicated to them that the General Assembly of this State 
are feelingly impressed with the very generous and patriotic ser- 
vices rendered by the Inhabitants of the said Counties, to which their 
influence had in great degree contributed and earnestly urge that 
they would press a continuance of the same active exertion ; that the 
State of the Country is such as to call forth the utmost powers im- 
mediately in order to preserve its freedom and Independence, and 
that we may by the assistance of our friends in Virginia, as they 
have occasionally by us, as emergencies induced them, availed of it, 
we suggest our wishes that Colonel Arthur Campbell and Colonel 
William Preston of Virginia, thro' the Gentlemen mentioned, may be 
informed that their spirited conduct heretofore in favor of the 


Southern States affords us the most perfect assurance that they will 
make every active and effectual exertion at the present critical 
foment in favor of this State. 

\ At this same time, Ex-Governor Richard Caswell, an inti- 
mate acquaintance of Isaac Shelby, "depicted to him the 
melancholy circumstances of his own State. The Tories 
were in motion all over North Carolina, and their footsteps 
were marked with blood, and their path was indicated by the 
most desolating devastations. Governor Caswell conjured 
him to turn to the relief of his distressed country." 46 The 
Continental Congress, through their laudatory resolution of 
November 15, 1780, and the general officers of the American 
army, including Gates, Greene and Morgan, having ascer- 
tained the military value of the fighting frontiersmen, the 
inevitable result was that General Greene, on January 30, 
1781, wrote to "the famous Colonel William Campbell," re- 
minding him of the glory he had already acquired, and urging 
him "to bring, without loss of time, a thousand good volun- 
teers from over the mountains." 47 The difficulties which the 
frontiersmen were experiencing with the Indians at this 
period, in a succession of campaigns, put out of the question 
the sending of any large force to assist Greene in his North 
Carolina campaign. No sooner had Sevier returned from 
the King's Mountain campaign than he was called upon to 
lead three hundred horsemen from Watauga, in conjunction 
with three hundred from Sullivan County, and one hundred 
from Washington County, Virginia — the whole under the 
command of Colonel Arthur Campbell, County-Lieutenant of 
Washington County, against the Cherokees. Upon the return 
of Colonel Campbell from this expedition, which was en- 
tirely successful, the first of January, 1781, he immediately 
communicated with General Nathaniel Greene, the Com- 
mander of the Southern Department, who accordingly, on 
February 6, 1781, appointed Arthur Campbell, William 

46 Haywood : Civil and Political History of Tennessee. In slavishly following 
Haywood, Ramsey (p. 251) falls into the error of stating that Caswell, instead 
of Abner Nash, was Governor of North Carolina in 1781. 

^Draper : King's Mountain and its Heroes, 391 ; Summers : South West Vir- 
ginia, 327-360 passim. 


Preston, William Christian and Joseph Martin, of Virginia, 
and Robert Lanier, Evan Shelby, Joseph Williams and John 
Sevier, of North Carolina, commissioners to meet commis- 
sioners from the Cherokees to treat on the subject of bound- 
aries, to arrange for an exchange of prisoners and terms 
of peace, and to invite the Indians to appoint a commission 
to visit Congress. 48 

The treaty was set for March 24, 1781, at the Long Island 
of Holston River. On that day Colonels Campbell, Martin, 
Shelby and Sevier assembled there, and, sent off one of the 
Indians captured in the recent campaign to the Indian nation 
proposing peace and fixing June 10th following as the date 
for the conference. The date was again postponed until July 
20, 1781. 49 Continued depredations by the hostile Indians 
earlier in the year seriously hampered the Tennessee and Vir- 
ginia borderers at this time; and Col. John Sevier, suspect- 
ing that "the perpetrators of this mischief came from some 
hostile towns in the mountain gorges," had resolved to lead 
an expedition against them. 

In March of this year Colonels John Sevier and Isaac Shelby un- 
dertook an expedition against the Chickamauga Indians, and to assist 
in this undertaking 200 of the militia of Washington county joined 
Colonel Isaac Shelby and marched to the Big Island in the French 
Broad River, where the troops were rendezvoused, from which point 
they marched for the sources of the Mobile River, and after the third 
day they crossed the Tennessee river at Scitico, at which point they 
held a council with the friendly Indians. On the 6th day they en- 
camped on the Hiawassee river, and on the 7th day they crossed the 
river and passed into the territory of the hostile Indians, Colonel 
Sevier with his forces, marched immediately against Vann's Towns, 
which he reduced to ashes, and thence to Bull Town, at the head of 
Chickamogga Creek. After the destruction of this town they marched 
to the Coosa river, where they killed a white man by the name of 
Clements from whom it was ascertained that he was a sergeant in 
the British army, and it was believed that he instigated the Indians 
in their depredations against the frontiers. The army then pro- 
ceeded to Spring Frog Town, thence up the Coosa river to Estanola 
and Indian Town which they destroyed. After thus destroying the 

48 Weeks : General Joseph Martin and the War of the Revolution in the West, 
429-433; Haywood: Civil and Political History of Tennessee (1823) ; Summers: 
Southwest Virginia, 348. 

^Calendar Virginia State Papers, ii, 199. 


Indian towns and killing all the Indian Warriors they could find, the 
troops returned to Chote, where a council was held with the friendly 
Indians, at the conclusion of which the troops were disbanded and 
returned to their homes. 50 

Although neither Shelby nor Sevier could lead a force of 
mountain men to the relief of Greene, Captain Charles Rob- 
ertson raised a company of about one hundred and fifty volun- 
teers and took a creditable part in the battle of Guilford 
Courthouse on March 15, 1781. 51 With equal patriotism, 
Colonel William Campbell raised a company of one hundred 
men of the militia of Washington County, and on February 
25, 1781, set out to join the militia of Botetourt and Mont- 
gomery counties, on their march to join General Greene's 
army. "A large number would have gone," says Arthur Camp- 
bell in a letter to Governor Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, of 
date February 28, 1781, "were it not for the daily apprehen- 
sion of attacks from the northward and southern Indians." 
About March 3, Colonel Campbell with sixty followers in his 
immediate command, effected a junction with Greene's army ; 
but the total number of the combined forces of William Camp- 
bell and William Preston, who reached Greene about the 
same time, was upwards of four hundred. 52 These forces 
fought with staunchness and bravery at Guilford Courthouse, 
fully justifying Greene's description of the "back country 
people" as "bold and daring in their make." ' 3 


Following the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Greene de- 
voted his attention to reducing the British posts in South 

5 "This account is taken from Summer: Southwest Virginia, 360-1. Cf. also 
Ramsey : Tennessee, 268-9 ; Weeks : Joseph Martin, 432. In his Autobiography, 
Shelby makes no mention of having taken part in this expedition. 

"Ramsey : Annals of Tennessee, 251 ; cf. monograph, Major Charles Robert- 
son, and Some of His Descendants, by Mrs. Charles Fairfax Henley. Cf. also 
Schenck's North Carolina, 1780-1, 302. 

^Calendar of Virginia State Papers, 542 ; Johnson's Greene, i. 455. Draper is 
in error in giving the citation to Johnson, i, 438, in support of the statement 
that there were "four hundred mountaineers" under Campbell; the allusion is 
to the "400 regulars, under Colonel Richard Campbell," who had been organ- 
ized and despatched to Greene's relief by the Baron Steuben. (Schenck's North 
Carolina: 1780-81, 272.) 

M Cf. Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, 251-2, for comments upon the probable 
results of that battle, had Shelby and Sevier led the over-mountain men to 
Greene's assistance. 


Carolina and Georgia. After the fall of Augusta, on June 
25, only Ninety-six remained in British hands ; but Greene 
was foiled in his attack upon that post on June 18 and 19. 
From the "Camp at Bush River, in the District of Ninety-six, 
June 22, 1781," Greene once more appealed for aid to the 
Watauga riflemen in a letter to Isaac Shelby, hitherto unpub- 
lished. In this important letter he says : 

We have been ui>on the eve of reducing all the enemies interior 
posts in South Carolina and Georgia. Ninety-Six was the last and 
four days more would have completed its reduction, when, unfor- 
tunately, we were compelled to raise the siege, the enemy having 
been reinforced at Charlestovvn. Lord Rawdou marched out in 
force and is now in our neighborhood. To secure the advantages of 
our past success it is necessary we should drive the enemy into the 
lower country. To enable us to effect this I beg you to march to our 
assistance a thousand good riflemen, well armed and equipped tit for 
action. If you can join us in a few days with such a force you will 
render an important service to the public in general, to the State of 
South Carolina in particular, and lay me under very particular obli- 
gations. I feel myself deeply interested in this application. 

At the time when this letter reached Shelby, the military 
leaders of Virginia and Tennessee were busily concerned in 
the negotiations for peace with the Cherokees. Isaac Shelby 
attended the treaty at the Long Island of Holston from July 
20 to July 29, 1781. The despatches from the Commissioners 
to General Greene, reporting the results of this treaty, were 
entrusted to Shelby for delivery, as it was known that he had 
promised General Greene to raise a force and march to his 
aid. The following letter, hitherto unpublished in any his- 
tory, exhibits in detail the efforts made by Shelby and Sevier 
to raise and to march a force to cooperate with Greene. 

Camp on Wattauga Washington County 

North Carolina 3d August 1781. 
Hond. Sir: In answer to your request of the 22d June last I rote 
you by the Express, that I should March by the loth July with what 
force cou'd be rais'd in this quarter, but the Cherokee Treaty not 
being over found it impracticable to draw any force from here untill 
that important Business (to this frontier) was finally ratified, which 
was done the 29th July, and immediately every step taken to rein- 


force you ; about TOO good riflemen well mounted were now in motion 
toward you & should have been down in as short a time as possible 
but an Express arrived in camp last night from General Pickens that 
informed us of the Enemys retreat to Orangeburg and perhaps to 
Charles Town, that distance being so very great for us, the warm 
season of the year & the men not prepared for so long a Tower, had 
induced Col. Severe of this county and myself from proceeding on 
our march, until one hear farther accounts from that quarter tho the 
men are ordered to hold themselves in readiness to march on the 
shortest notice, and as our country is now in a state of peace and 
tranquility, have no doubt but we can furnish you with a largp pro- 
portion of good men from here whenever you may find necessary to 
require us. 

I have the honour to be with, respect 

Your Mo. Obt. Humble Servt. 

Endorsed: Isaac Shelby. 14 

From Colo. Shelby 
Augt. 3d., 1781. 

After Shelby and Sevier concluded not to march, Shelby 
returned the despatches for Greene, mentioned above, to the 
Commissioners who had negotiated the treaty with the Chero- 
kees.'^ Greene had been greatly depressed by the failure of 
Shelby and Sevier to march their seven hundred riflemen to 
his assistance ; and throughout July he was frequently heard 
to exclaim: "What can detain Shelby and Sevier ?" ; ' fi Writ- 
ing to Colonel Lee from Camden on August 25, Greene de- 
spondently says : "We are thus far on our way to join Colonel 
Henderson, but the tardiness with which everybody moves 
who was expected to join us, almost makes me repent that I 
have put the troops in motion. Near two hundred of the 
North Carolina Regulars, who ought to have been here four 
days past, are not likely to be here for four or five to come. 
Colonel Shelby, I believe, had gone back, if he ever set out, 
which I much doubt. General Pickens had not been heard of, 
and I fear will not have it in his power to bring any con- 

M Original MS. letter owned by Arthur M. Rutledge, of Louisville, Kentucky. 
Draper is in error in statins? that Greene's letter to Shelby miscarried. (Kinr/'s 
Mountain and its Heroes, 413) Johnson erroneously cites Sevier as the author of 
Shelby's letter above (Greene, ii, 210,1. 

^Shelby's Autobiography. The details of the treaty, it seems, have never been 
published. G. W. Greene clearly is in error in giving the date of Shelby's letter 
to Greene as August (Life of Nathaniel Greene, iii, 374n). Cf. also Johnson: 
Greene, ii, 184-5. 

•^Johnson's Greene, ii, 210. 


siderable reinforcements ; nor do I expect Lieutenant-Colonel 
Henderson will be able to do much more. The State troops 
I am told (are) all getting sickly, as is the North Carolina 
Regulars. Not more than one-half the militia from North 
Carolina are arrived, and the whole that are here don't exceed 
four hundred. You know I never despair, nor shrink at diffi- 
culties, but our prospects are not flattering." 57 

Greene continued to rely upon receiving reinforcements 
from Watauga; and after his victory at Eutaw Springs, he 
despatched to Shelby the following letter, which was to have 
momentous consequences. This letter was not received by 
Shelby before the last of September or first of October, as it 
"came through Virginia, was found in Henry County by a 
neighbor, and brought out at his leisure." 

Head Quarters, 
High Hills of Santee 
Sept. 16, 1781. 
Dear Sir : 

I have the pleasure to inform you that we had an action with the 
British Army on the 8th in which we were victorious. We took 
500 prisoners and killed and wounded a much greater number. We 
also took near 1000 stand of arms, and have driven the enemy near 
to the gates of Charleston. I have also the pleasure to inform you 
that, a large French fleet of nearly thirty sail of the line, has 
arrived in the Chessepeak bay, with a considerable number of land 
forces ; all of which are to be employed against Lord Cornwallis, who 
it is suspected will endeavor to make good his retreat through North 
Carolina to Charleston. To prevent which I beg you to bring out as 
many riflemen as you can, and as soon as possible. You will march 
them to Charlotte, and inform me the moment you set out, and of 
your arrival. 

If we can intercept his lordship it will put a finishing stroke to 
the war in the Southern states. 

Should I get any intelligence which may change the face of mat- 
ters I will advise you. I am with esteem and regard, your most 
obedient & humble Servant, Nath. Green. 

Col. Shelby, back parts of North Carolina. 58 

5TH. Lee: Campaign of 1781 in the Carolinas (1824), 455-6. 

58 Letter of Isaac Shelby to C. S. Todd, June 28, 1822. This letter was first 
given publicity by Shelby in his Memoir because of the unwarranted charge 
brought by Judge Johnson in his biography of Greene (ii, 258) against Sevier 
and Shelby for having "deserted" Greene. 


Upon the receipt of this letter, Shelby immediately com- 
municated its contents by express to Sevier, who lived fifty 
miles away, and proposed a rendezvous of their men early in 
October. In making the enlistments, Shelby assured the 
volunteers that they should not be absent from their families 
for more than sixty days. 

I made great exertions, and collected the men in a few days there- 
after, many of them had not received more than 24 hours notice and 
lived more than 100 miles from the place of rendezvous — but were 
willing to go as the call was made for a special purpose — to wit, 
to intercept Lord Cornwallis who it was suspected would endeavor to 
make good his retreat through N. Carolina to Charleston and Gen. 
Green thought and so did I that if we could intercept him, it would 
put an end to the war in the S. states. To effect this important 
object, the people on the western waters were induced to volunteer 
their services — it was for this purpose that they were prevailed upon 
to leave their homes 500 miles from the scene of operations to defend 
a Maritime district of country surrounded with a dense population 
and in comparative quiet, while their own firesides were daily 
menaced by the Chicamauga Indians, who as you know had declared 
perpetual war against the whites and could never be induced to 
make peace. I was far advanced on my road when I received vague 
information of the surrender of Cornwallis in Virginia and hesitated 
whether to proceed. But as the men appeared to be willing to serve 
out a tour of duty which at the time of their entering the service I 
repeatedly assured them should not exceed 60 days absence from 
their homes, I proceeded on more leisurely to Green, who observed to 
me that such a body of horse could not remain in the vicinity of his 
camp on account of the scarcity of forage and requested me to serve 
out the tour with Marion, to which I consented, however, with some 
reluctance as the men would be drawn 70 or 80 miles further from 
their homes. 58 

Shelby quickly raised upwards of five hundred mounted 
riflemen ; and Sevier with equal despatch raised two hun- 
dred mounted riflemen in Washington County. These two 
bodies, totalling some seven hundred, joined Marion at his 
camp on the Santee. The hint was given to Marion that "if 
he would keep them he must keep them busy." 60 

It was with considerable reluctance that Shelby and Sevier 

50 Shelby's Autobiography. 

'•"Greene Mss., cited in Greene's Greene, iii, 419. 


consented to being attached to Marion's command. "Their 
men were called out upon a pressing emergency which no 
longer existed. They had been, moreover, enrolled only 
sixty days. Much of that time had already expired, and the 
contemplated service under Marion would take them still 
further from their distant homes. Besides Shelby was a 
member of the General Assembly of North Carolina, from 
Sullivan County, and its session at Salem took place early in 
December." 61 

Almost at once they were engaged in very active service. 
The account of the ensuing events is contained in Shelby's 
Autobiography, here reproduced as written: 

The enemies main Southern army, it was said, lay at that time 
near a place called Fergusson's Swamp on the great road bearing di- 
rectly to Charleston. Gen'l Marion received information several 
weaks after our arrival at his camp that several hundred Hessians 
at a British Post near Monk's Corner, eight or ten miles below the 
enemies main army were in a state of mutiny, and would surrender 
the post to any considerable American force that might appear before 
it ; and consulted his principal officers on the propriety of surprising 
it, which was soon determined on, and Shelby and Sevier solicited a 
command in it. Marion accordingly moved down eight or ten miles, 
and crossed over to the South side of the Santee River, from whence 
he made a detachment of five or six hundred men to surprise the 
post, the command of which was given to Colonel Mayhem. The 
detachment consisted of Shelby's mounted riflemen with Mayhem's 
Dragoons, about one hundred and eighty, and about twenty or thirty 
lowland mounted militia, the command of the whole was given to 
Colonel Mayhem. They took up their march early in the morning, 
and traveled fast through the woods until late in the evening of the 
second day, when they struck the great road leading to Charleston, 
about two miles below the enemy's post, which they intended to sur- 
prise. They lay upon their arms all night across the road with a 
design to intercept the Hessians in case the enemy had got notice of 
our approach and had ordered them down to Charleston before morn- 
ing. In the course of the night which was as dark as pitch an 
orderly Sergeant rode into the line amongst us, and was taken 
prisoner. No material papers were found upon him before he made 
his escape except a pocket book which contained the strength of the 
enemy's main army and their number then on the sick list, which was 
very great. 

81 Ramsey : Annals of Tennessee, 254. 


As soon as daylight appeared, we advanced to the British Post, and 
arrived there before sunrise. Col. Mayhem sent in one of his confi- 
dential officers with peremptory demand for a surrender of the gar- 
rison, who in a few minutes returned and reported that the officer 
commanding was determined to defend the post to the last extremity. 
Col. Shelby then proposed that he would go in himself and make 
another effort to obtain a surrender, which Mayhem readily con- 
sented to. Upon his approach he discovered a gap in the Abbaties, 
through which he rode up close to the building, when an officer opened 
one leaf of a long folding door. Col. Shelby addressed him in these 
words, "Will you be so mad as to suffer us to storm your works, if 
you do rest assured that every soul of you will be put to the sword, 
for there was several hundred men at hand that would soon be in 
with their tomahawks upon them" ; he then inquired if they had any 
artillery. Shelby replied, "that they had guns that would blow them 
to pieces in a minute." Upon which the officer replied, "I suppose I 
must give up." Mayhem seeing the door thrown wide open, and 
Shelby ascend the high steps to the door, immediately advanced with 
his dragoons, and formed on the right. It was not until this moment 
we discovered another strong British Fort that stood five or six hun- 
dred yards to the East, and this is the first knowledge we had of 
that post, the garrison of which immediately marched out, about one 
hundred infantry and forty or fifty cavalry came around the North 
Angle of the fort all apparently with a design to attack us; they 
however soon halted as we stood firm and prepared to meet them. 
We took a hundred and fifty prisoners, all of them able to have fought 
from the windows of the house, or from behind Abbaties. Ninety 
of them were able to stand a march to Marion's camp that day which 
was near sixty miles ; and we paroled the remainder most of whom 
appeared to have been sick, and unable to stand so hard a march. 
Information soon reached Marion's camp that the post had been 
burnt down immediately on our leaving it ; but it was always the 
opinion of Col. Shelby that the enemy had abandoned it, and burnt" 
it themselves, for Mayhem and Shelby were the two last men that 
left the place, and at that time there was nOt the least sign of fire or 
smoke about it. This it is most probable they would do, as they had 
previously destroyed, and burned down almost every building in that 
part of the country. This post was an immense brick building, calcu- 
lated to hold a thousand men, and said to have been built by Sir 
John Gollitin a century before that period as well for defense as 
comfort ; and was well enclosed by a strong abbaties. In it were 
found, besides the prisoners three or four hundred stand of arms, 
and as many new blankets. The American detachment left this post 
between nine and ten o'clock of the same day, and arrived at Marion's 
camp the night following at three o'clock. Gen. Stewart who com- 
manded the Enemy's main army, eight or ten miles above made great 


efforts to intercept us on our return. And it was announced to 
Marion before sunrise next morning that the whole British army was 
in the old field about three miles off at the outer end of the cause- 
way that led into his camp. Shelby was immediately ordered out 
with the mountain men to meet him at the edge of the swamp, to 
attack the enemy if he attempted to advance and retreat at his own 
discretion, to where Marion would have his whole force drawn up to 
sustain him at an old field. Shortly after his arrival at the edge 
of the open plain, he observed two British officers ride up to a house 
equidistant between the lines, after they retired he rode to the 
house to know what inquiries they had made; a man told him that 
they had asked him when the Americans detachment had got in, what 
was their force, and of what troops it was composed ; he replied that 
the detachment had come in just before day, that he had supposed 
as they went out they were six or eight hundred strong ; and were 
composed chiefly of Shelby's and Sevier's mounted men, with May- 
hem's Dragoons. The enemy then being in the edge of the woods, 
silently withdrew out of sight, and retreated back in the utmost 
disorder and confusion. A small party sent out to reconnoiter the 
enemy, reported that many of them had thrown away their knap- 
sacks, guns and canteens. A few days afterwards Gen'l. Marion re- 
ceived intelligence that the British commander had retreated with 
his whole force to Charleston. Marion's sole design in moving from 
the camp when the mountain men first joined him. and crossing the 
Santee River below, was to get within striking distance of the be- 
fore mentioned post, to make the said detachment, and be able to 
protect and support them on their retreat if hard pushed by the 
enemy. After this the enemy kept so within their lines that little or 
no blood was spilt, and all active movements appearing to be at an 
end, Shelby made application to Gen'l Marion for leave of absence to 
go to the Assembly of North Carolina, of which he was a member, 
and which was to meet about that time at Salem, and where he had 
private business of his own of the first importance. The mountain 
men had then but a day or two to stay, to complete their tour of 
duty, of sixty days, and he verily believes that they did serve it out, 
as he never heard to the contrary. 62 

62 In a conversation with C. S. Todd, May 16, 1826, Shelby said concerning the 
affair at Monk's Corner : 

"When we arrived on parade with the detachment against the British post 
near Monk's Corner, I did not know who was to command but I expected I was — 
as I had been informed that Marion was only a Lt.-Col. When I understood the 
command had been assigned to Marion I made objections and refused to march, 
as I was the superior officer. The detachment stood still until Marion himself 
came from a distance of one-half mile who entreated me in the most friendly 
language to yield to the arrangement he had made. That Marion was well 
acquainted with the country through which we were to pass and with the 
immediate neighborhood of the post we were to attack. I submitted to his 
request because I was to stay but a short time in camp and I thought Marion to 
be much of a gentleman and so he treated me. Indeed, throughout the expedi- 
tion he gave me no orders but consulted me on all occasions. These mountain- 
eers were poor men who lived by keeping stock in the range beyond the moun- 
tains, they were volunteers and neither expected nor received any compensation 



On November 25, having virtually filled out their term of 
enlistment, the mountaineers set off homeward in a deep 
snow. About November 28th, Shelby applied to Marion for 
leave of absence to attend the session of the Assembly of 
North Carolina, which was to meet at the Moravian Town 
(Salem). Shelby had been elected a member of the legis- 
lature from Sullivan County and was charged with a "Memo- 
rial to be laid before that body in relation to a subject of 
deep importance." According to Shelby's own statement, 
General Marion "readily granted my request and addressed 
a letter by me to General Green which I was permitted to see 
directed to him at the High Hills of Santee where he ex- 
pected General Green was still encamped. In this letter I 
have a distinct recollection that he spoke in the highest terms 
of the conduct of the mountaineers and gave me my full share 
of the credit for the capture of the British Post." 63 

Shelby attended the North Carolina Assembly at Salem in 
December, 1781, which adjourned without action. On re- 
turning to Holston, as stated by Draper, Shelby "was engaged 
during the spring in preparing for an expedition against the 
Chickamauga band of Cherokees, and the hostile Creeks at 
the sources of the Mobile, in which enterprise he was to have 
been joined by two hundred men from Washington County, 
Virginia; but on account of the poverty of that State, the 
authorities discouraged the scheme, and reaching Big Creek, 
thirty miles below Long Island of Holston, the expedition was 
relinquished." 64 Having again been elected a member of the 
North Carolina Assembly, Shelby attended the session at 

^Shelby's statements effectually dispose of Judge Johnson's malicious charges 
{Greene, ii, 258ff), repeated by G. W. Greene (Greene, iii, 419). The whole 
matter has been thoroughly traversed by Ramsey in his Annals of Tennessee 
(1853 edn.) 253-261#. 

84 In this connection, cf. N. C. State Records, xvi, 696-7-8, for plans for the 

except liquidated certificates worth 2S. in the pound. Gen. Greene had no right 
nor ought to have expected to command their services. For myself for the whole 
services of 1780 and 1781 both in camp and in the assembly I received a liquida- 
tion certificate which my agent in that county after my removal to Kentucky 
sold for six yards of Middling Broadcloth and I gave one coat of it to the person 
who brought it out to me — indeed I was proud of receiving that." 


Hillsborough in April, 1782. 65 At this session he took an 
active part in the proceedings, and was engaged busily on 
important committees. At this session was passed the liberal 
"Act for the relief of the Officers and Soldiers in the Conti- 
nental line, etc.," rewarding the revolutionary soldiers for 
their patriotic services — to every soldier who should continue 
in the ranks until the end of the war 640 acres of land; to 
every officer a larger quantity according to his rank, a colonel 
receiving 7,200 and a brigadier 12,000 acres; and to General 
Greene 25,000 acres. Section VIII of this act reads as fol- 
lows : 

And be it further enacted, That Absalom Tatom, Isaac Shelby, and 
Anthony Bledsoe, Esquires, or any two of them, are appointed com- 
missioners in behalf of the State, to examine and superintend the 
laying off the laud in one or more tracts allotted to the officers and 
soldiers, and they shall be accompanied by one or more agents, whom 
the officers may appoint, to assist in the business ; and in case any 
commissioner so appointed shall die, or refuse to act his Excellency 
the Governor shall fill up the vacancy. 86 

Full instructions were given the commissioners by Governor 
Alexander Martin, 67 and, accompanied by a guard of one 
hundred men, they arrived at ISTashborough and the Cumber- 
land in January, 1783. Under the provisions of the act 
above, the commissioners were instructed to settle the pre- 
emption claims of those who had settled on the Cumberland 
River prior to June 1, 1780. Under conditions of grave 
danger from the Indians, who killed various members of the 
Cumberland settlements, including one of their own party, 
the commissioners satisfactorily concluded their task in the 
early spring of 1783. 6S Their visit marks the beginning of 
prosperity and moderate security from the Indians, for the 
exposed settlements along the Cumberland. 

^Cf. N. C. State Records, xvi, 68, 101, 109, 128, passim. For a long and 
laborious, yet imperfect sketch of Isaac Shelby, compare National Portrait Gal- 
lery, i (1834). This sketch, by his son-in-law, Charles Stewart Todd, once 
Minister to Russia, is reproduced, with a number of alterations, in G. W. Grif- 
fin's Memoir of Col. Chas. S. Todd (1873), 157-174. 

^State Records of N. C, xxiv, 421. 

m N. C. State Records, xvi, 713 ; Martin to the Commissioners. 

^Putnam : History of Middle Tennessee, 162-3, 172, 177, contains a descrip- 
tion of the work of the commissioners. 


On January 13, 1783, Isaac Shelby, Joseph Martin, and 
John Donelson were appointed commissioners on behalf of 
the State of Virginia to treat with the Cherokees, Creeks and 
Chickasaws for peace. Shelby did not attend the treaties 
subsequently held with the Chickamaugas at the Long Island 
of Holston on July 9, 1783 ; and with the Chickasaws at the 
French Lick on November 5 and 6, 1783. 69 

In fact, more important business now occupied his atten- 
tion ; for in April he was married to the young woman whom 
he had long loved — Susanna Hart. She was the daughter of 
Colonel Nathaniel Hart of North Carolina, a prominent- 
member of the Transylvania Company. Isaac Shelby courted 
his sweetheart at the famous fort of Boonesborough, in the 
neighborhood of which her father had been slain by the 
Indians the preceding year. 70 No doubt he wore at the time 
that memorable "suit of middling broadcloth," which was his 
recompense for his service to his country in the King's Moun- 
tain campaign. In the union of the names of Hart and 
Shelby, and in the associations which cluster about them, may 
be recognized a living symbol of the greatness of Kentucky 
for more than a century and a quarter. 

The marriage, appropriately solemnized as the Revolu- 
tion came to a triumphant close, marks the end of the era. 
Of Shelby's future career — as first Governor of the Common- 
wealth, general, eminent citizen — a new study must be pro- 
jected. 71 A fitting summary of the virtues of this distin- 
guished American, whose honored name is forever linked with 
the history of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and 
Kentucky, and the nation, is contained in these words of 
Governor James T. Morehead, in his address at Boonesbor- 
ough (May 25, 1840) : 

"Great men," said Mr. Burke, "are the guide posts and landmarks 
in the State." The life of Isaac Shelby is a signal example of un- 

8e Weeks : Joseph Martin, 435-6. 

70 Cf. Mrs. Ellet's Pioneer Women of the West, 19-22, in sketch of Mary Bled- 
soe ; Address of George Blackburn Kinkead, delivered at Boonsborough Fort, 
Oct. 5, 1907 ; Taylor's Historic Sullivan, 36-7. 

71 In this connection compare the address of Mrs. Mary Shelby Wilson at the 
unveiling and presentation to Memorial Continental Hall of the marble bust of 
Isaac Shelby, April 19, 1811. 


blemished personal integrity and enlarged public usefulness, which 
may be safely imitated by all those who aspire to become bene- 
factors of their country. Starting into active life without the aid of 
fortune or education, he pursued the gradations of military rank 
from the lieutenancy of a militia company to the command of a regi- 
ment — he rose from the humble station of a surveyor among the 
pioneers to the governorship of a great Commonwealth — and was 
distinguished in all the posts to which he was called. His mind like 
his body was strong and vigorous : boldness, energy, decision, were 
its leading characteristics. Capable of thinking for himself, he in- 
vestigated every important subject that came within the range of his 
private or public duties, with candor and deliberation ; and having 
formed his opinions, he followed them with unshaken firmness. He 
spoke and wrote as he thought — with great force and vigor — always 
expressing his opinions with manly frankness, and a lofty disdain 
of personal consequences. His manners — derived from the school in 
which he was brought up — were plain and simple, and commanded, 
without any affectation of dignity, the universal deference of his 
associates. He was sincere but not profuse in his professions of 
attachment— faithful and steadfast to his friends when those attach- 
ments were once formed. Elevating himself in the discharge of his 
official duties above the influence of private considerations, he sought 
and rewarded merit for his country's sake. If such was his character 
as a public man, he maintained all the relations of life with equal 
credit and success. x , 



The present research, dealing with the career of Isaac Shelby down 
to the close of the Revolution, is a fragment of a larger study, a 
detailed biography. In the preparation of these two papers, I have 
been materially assisted by my friend, Judge Samuel M. Wilson, of 
Lexington, Kentucky. He has placed at my disposal original and un- 
published material, as well as interesting contributions to the history 
of Kentucky and the West which have remained hidden in inaccessi- 
ble publications. I am also indebted to Mr. William R. Shelby of 
Grand Rapids, Michigan, and to Colonel Samuel King of Bristol, 
Tennessee-Virginia, for transcripts of valuable documents throwing 
light upon Shelby's career. 

There are a few statements to be made here, which are the results 
of more intensive study and purport either to correct or to modify 
statements already made. 

In regard to the parents of General Evan Shelby, to wit : Evan 
Shelby, Sr., and Catherine Davies. it is certain that they were 
natives of Wales, with a large percentage of Welsh blood. Evan and 
Davies are characteristic Welsh names. Those best informed in 
regard to the family's early history, however, believe that the name 
was originally Selby, and that the Shelbys were of English extrac- 

The records at Upper Marlboro, the county seat of Prince George's 
County, Maryland, reveal many transactions in which the Shelbys 
figure as residents of said county prior to the creation of Frederick 
County (not carved out of Prince George's County until 1748). It 
is probable that the immigrant ancestors of the Shelby family settled 
in Maryland nearer 1730 than 1735. Ultimately, by the formation of 
Washington County, the residence of Evan Shelby, near the North 
Mountain, was found to be in Washington County. (See Part I, 
109-110. ) 

The earliest surveys and grants to Evan Shelby, Senior and Junior, 
make it reasonably certain that the Shelbys resided continuously in 
Maryland from 1739 or earlier to 1771 or 1772. In particular, see 
Scharf 's History of Western Maryland, ii, 982-6. ( See Part I, 112-3. ) 

Isaac Shelby's mother was Letitia Cox (correctly given in Part I, 
p. 114, inadvertently given as "Scott" on p. 113). There is strong docu- 
mentary evidence that she was born, not in Frederick Town, but 
somewhere in Prince George's County, Maryland. She was married 
to Evan Shelby probably in August, 1744. 

Isaac Shelby was not the eldest son of Evan Shelby, being the 
second son and third child. Susannah Shelby, born about 1746, was 
the first born child and John Shelby, born about 1748, was the 
second child and eldest son. Evan Shelby brought to Virginia five 


sons : John, Isaac, Evan, Moses and James. A younger daughter, 
Catherine, was married to Captain James Thompson. (Part I, 113.) 

Within recent years the remains of General Evan Shelby have been 
removed from his original grave and re-interred in East View Ceme- 
tery, Bristol. (Part I, 114.) 

In Part I, 133, twelfth line from bottom should read (in part) : 
"... it was not supposed . . ." 

In Part I, 134, the last two lines should read : "opened at St. 
Asaph's on October 13, 1779 ; and again at St. Asaph's, on April 26, 
1780, after various sessions at Harrodsburg and elsewhere, the court 
announced that its." 

In Part I, 135, line 11, "1778" is a misprint for "1776." 

There is good x*eason to believe that the "Captain I. Shelby" re- 
ferred to in Clark's Memoir, is not Isaac, but James Shelby. The 
"J" was misread "I." At this time, Isaac Shelby was a Major, under 
commission from Governor Jefferson of Virginia. It is uncertain 
whether this James Shelby was a brother or a cousin of Isaac Shelby. 
(Part I, 136.) 

In Part I, 141, foot-note 49, line 2, "eighty-three" is a misprint for 



By Chief Justice Walter Clark 

In view of the enlistment of negroes as soldiers in the pres- 
ent war, it may be of interest to note the part that they have 
taken as soldiers in our previous wars. 

In the Revolutionary War there was no small number of 
negroes who served as soldiers. These were mostly free ne- 
groes, but no small part of them were slaves, who served, 
usually, but not always, as substitutes for their owners under 
promise of freedom at the end of the war. This promise was 
usually kept, but not always. An act of the Virginia Legis- 
lature passed in 1783, recites that every slave who had 
enlisted upon the faith of a promise of freedom from his 
master should be declared free accordingly, and directed the 
Attorney-General of that State to institute proceedings in all 
cases where the promise had not been complied with, and 
that the court on proof, should enter a decree of emancipation. 
It is greatly to the credit of that State that such act should 
have been passed. 

In North Carolina it does not appear that such act was 
necessary, however, as the only statute is one enfranchising a 
certain negro, ISTed Griffin, of Edgecombe, whose master, 
William Kitchen, had promised him his liberty on condition 
of service in the Continental line of this State for twelve 
months, which he had done, and the act declared him a free 
man. Laws 1784, ch. 70. Laws 1779, ch. 12, validated the 
freedom of all slaves who had served in the army under the 
promise of being free. 

These negroes, whether freemen, or slaves, enlisting under 
a promise of freedom, did not serve in separate organiza- 
tions, but in the ranks with the white soldiers. This appears 
in the diary of Hugh McDonald of this State, and also in 
other memoirs and diaries of those times. 

In the first collision between the Americans and the British 
soldiers in Boston the leader of the popular revolt was Crispus 


Attucks, a free negro, who was killed by the soldiers, and 
whose statue today stands on the Boston Commons. 

At the battle of Bunker Hill, Peter Salem, a negro slave 
who had volunteered on promise of freedom, behaved with 
conspicuous courage, and it was he who shot Major Pitcairn 
in reply to a summons to surrender. Bancroft says that "In 
the forces under Washington the free negroes had representa- 
tives in various companies and regiments, and their names 
are preserved on the pension list of the nation." At that 
time slavery existed in all the Colonies and, the draft laws 
covering only "free persons," no slaves were drawn except 
those who went on promise of freedom or as substitutes for 
their masters. These served usually in the ranks with the 
other soldiers, but it is recorded that Major Samuel Lawrence 
of Groton, Mass., raised a command composed entirely of 
free negroes. The Continental Congress passed an act for- 
bidding the acceptance or retention of such as were "still held 
in bondage," and thereupon the practice obtained of confer- 
ring freedom upon those slaves who served as substitutes for 
their masters, or voluntarily. 

Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, on one occasion moved 
Congress that "all negroes be dismissed from the Continental 
armies." This was overwhelmingly defeated and, when later, 
Congress issued an order directing that negro soldiers who 
were slaves should be rejected, General Washington replied 
that the negroes "are very much dissatisfied at being dis- 
carded, and, as it is apprehended that refusal to use them 
may induce them to seek employment from the enemy, I have 
taken the liberty to suspend your resolution concerning them." 
Congress thereupon reconsidered and repealed the resolution. 

After the battle of Monmouth Washington's army returns 
showed 755 colored soldiers present for duty, being about a 
tenth of the army. In 1778 Rhode Island passed an act 
enlisting all men of color of the draft age with a provision 
that those who were slaves should be free from the time of 
joining. This was followed by Massachusetts and New 


York. Sir Henry Clinton, the British Commander-in-Chief, 
issued a proclamation offering bounties to all negroes who 
would desert to his standard, which was also done by Corn- 
wallis and Tarleton in the South. Mr. Jefferson wrote that 
this action had cost Virginia 30,000 able bodied slaves in one 
year. To meet the British offer, Madison, Generals Greene 
and Lincoln, and other leading patriots advocated a general 
recruiting of the Continental forces by offering emancipation 
to the slaves. This was not, however, generally done, but 
there was a considerable number of slaves who obtained free- 
dom by serving as substitutes for their owners or their sons 
in the army. 

In the War of 1812 there were a great many colored men 
who served in the ranks, thruout the country, but there is no 
available record that at that time any slaves in the South 
were admitted as substitutes or otherwise on condition of free- 
dom. There were a good many who went over to the enemy 
on condition of freedom, and two battalions of negroes served 
at New Orleans under Jackson. In New York two regi- 
ments of "freemen of color" were raised to receive the 
same pay and allowance as whites, and there was a proviso 
that "any able bodied slave" in that State might enlist "'with 
the written assent of his master and mistress who were to 
receive his pay," while the negro was to be set free on his 
honorable discharge. After the battle of New Orleans Gen- 
eral Andrew Jackson, in his proclamation, bore emphatic tes- 
timony to the part borne by negro troops in that great vic- 
tory and their bravery and good conduct during their service 
under him. The British had two regiments of West India 
negroes in that battle. 

During the Civil War 180,000 negroes served in the Union 
Army. Some of these were from the North, and served either 
under the draft or as volunteers, but by far the greatest part 
of them were fugitive slaves who served in northern regi- 
ments, either as substitutes, or upon payment of bounties given 


by townships and counties in the North to fill up their re- 
quired quotas under the draft. 

The Confederate government was asked by General Lee 
in the fall of 1864 to conscript slaves as soldiers, offering them 
freedom, but this was opposed by President Davis and others, 
and the act did not pass till February, 1865, and only a few 
companies were raised. We often conscripted free negroes, 
and sometimes slaves, to build forts and breastworks. Those 
surrounding Raleigh were thus built. 

It is believed that with very rare exceptions the colored 
Union troops in the Civil War served as separate organiza- 
tions, as now, tho officered by white men. This was true dur- 
ing our Spanish War in 1898. This State, however, which 
sent two regiments of white soldiers to that war, sent one 
regiment of colored troops, officered entirely by colored offi- 
cers, from its Colonel, James H. Young, down. 

In the United States Regular Army, ever since the Civil 
War, there has been several regiments of colored troops, but 
these have been officered entirely by white men, as only one 
colored man has ever graduated at West Point. 

In the present war there are probably 200,000 colored 
troops in the United States Army, most of whom have white 
officers, tho there are some company officers of color. The 
British and French have many colored troops, of whom the 
Senegalese are exceptionally brave. It is related that when 
some American colored troops landed at a French port they 
were delighted to see colored troops ashore, and commenced 
talking to them in English, supposing that all negroes spoke 
our tongue. They proved, however, to be troops from French 

The conduct of the negro troops has generally been good in 
peace, as well as in war. There was a painful exception in 
the emeute at Brownsville, Texas, some years ago, and also in 
the recent riot in a colored regiment at San Antonio, for 
which some thirty or forty of the colored soldiers were hanged 


by the government for mutiny. It seems that on both occa- 
sions whiskey was at the bottom of the trouble. 

The history of our wars shows that colored men, when 
well led by competent officers, have always shown up as brave 
soldiers. The two instances named of misconduct seem to be 
exceptions to their general good conduct and orderly behavior 
in time of peace. 

What is said above refers only to colored slaves. Those 
acquainted with our Colonial history know, however, that 
there were many Indian slaves in the Colonies, especially in 
New England, and some of them in North Carolina, and not 
a few white slaves. The latter were usually sent to this 
country from Great Britain to serve out a sentence for crime 
and sometimes for debt. Among these white slaves was the 
Lieutenant Colonel of a North Carolina regiment, who on 
his march to Germantown, with his regiment in 1777 was 
humiliated by being recognized and claimed in Maryland as 
a slave, he having escaped thence to North Carolina where he 
had served an honorable career and risen in life. Massachu- 
setts sold most of her Indian slaves in the West Indies, bring- 
ing in return cargoes from Guinea of Africans, who they said 
were better adapted for work. Among those who, after the 
Pequot War, Massachusetts sold to the West Indies, were the 
wife and son of King Philip, the former being the daughter 
of Massasoit, who had been the best friend whom the Colonists 
of that Province had ever had, and who had rendered the 
whites notable service. 

Probably the most distinguished colored soldier was Gen- 
eral Thomas Alexandre Dumas who served under Napoleon, 
and at one time was commander in chief of the army of the 
Eastern Pyrenees. He was the son af a West India negro 
mother, and to his son Alexandre Dumas the elder, the 
famous novelist, we are indebted for the famous novels "Monte 
Cristo," the "Three Muskeeters," with its famous trio Por- 
thos, Athos, and Aramis, and the greatest of all D'Artagnan, 


"The Forty-five Guardsmen," and others. Hannibal and his 
Carthaginians were not negroes, though from Africa. 

The free negroes voted in North Carolina till 1835, and 
under the Federal Constitution three-fifths of the slave popu- 
lation was taken as a basis in the apportionment for members 
of Congress. Republican disgust at finding that by emanci- 
pation, which made negroes freemen, the basis was changed 
and twenty new members of Congress had been given to the 
South, is said to have been a strong motive for passing the 
XV Amendment. 

north Carolina's dead 63 


At the unveiling of the monument and statue to the Con- 
federate dead at Morgantom 22 January, 1918, the address 
was delivered by Chief Justice Clark. The following extract 
from his speech is of more than passing interest : 

As against 2,850,000 men in the Union line, the South, first and last, 
was able to send to the front about 650,000. Of these North Carolina 
sent 125,000, or nearly one-fifth of the whole number. Of these, 
43,000 of our best and bravest, being one-third, came not home again. 

They sleep where the silver Shenandoah sweeps along ; some rest 
on the heights at Gettysburg ; some sleep by the sounding sea at 
Charleston; others at Vicksburg, 

"By the great inland river, whence the fleets of iron have fled, 
And the green grass quivers above the ranks of the dead" ; 

on the plains of Chickamauga and where the Georgian pines are bare ; 
around Petersburg, in the swamps of the Chickahominy and where 
Potomac's "breezes answering low sooth many a soldier's endless 

Across the fields of yesterday they come back to us, as we knew 
and remember them, in all the splendor of their young manhood. Age 
has not withered them. Time and trouble have not touched them. 
The Roman poet said that it was "sweet to die for one's country." 
It was glorious for them to pass in the prime of their powers, with 
the sunlight of victory on their faces and fronting the morning. 
They died in the full assurance and confident hope of our ultimate 
success. They saw not the torn and tattered battle flags furled for- 
ever at Appomattox. The bugle did not ring out for them, as for 
you, the final call to stack arms. No drums beat for them the 
retreat. Their ears caught only the sound of the reveille. They live 
in immortal youth. 



By Mary Hilliard Hinton 

During these exciting and troublous times of the world's 
existence when woman is constantly engaged in the service of 
her country, helping in ways heretofore unknown, giving 
freely of her time in unstinted service and keeping her purse 
ever open, it will be interesting, perhaps, to look backward 
thru the pages of history and gather notes of the spirit of 
patriotism and heroism of our brave and loyal women patriots, 
whose deeds have been recorded, and whose sufferings show 
what our foremothers endured, that they may inspire us to 
bear nobly whatever trials may be in store. While they were 
subjected to innumerable privations their lot seems incom- 
parable with the barbarities imposed by "the fiery Hun" upon 
the weaker population of grief-stricken Belgium and the 
devastated regions of Northern France and Poland. It was 
with the British and Tories we were waging a civilized war, 
not barbarians whose hearts hesitate at no cruelties. That 
struggle for independence fortunately took place one hundred 
and forty-eight years ago, during which period the United 
States of America have developed into one of the leading 
world powers, whereby she is now able to express to her splen- 
did ally — France — the gratitude of an appreciative people 
and to render to her mother country the duty of a worthy 

North Carolina's record of her heroic women is indeed 
meager, and many of her heroines are known by name only 
with sparse local tradition as proof their bravery. Of quite 
a number just one brave incident can be cited, which can be 
accepted as indicative of their conduct during the Revolu- 
tionary War. Among the latter can be found the names of 
Mrs. Elizabeth Forbis, Mrs. Mary Morgan, Mrs. Rachel 
Denny, Mrs. Sarah Logan, Mrs. Elizabeth McGraw, Miss 
Ann Fergus, Mrs. Margaret Caruthers and Miss Margaret 


Caruthers, in The Old North State in 1776, has preserved 
their records from oblivion, but since that rare volume has 
long since been out of print and few copies are to be found, to 
give these noble women further recognition, this brief sketch 
is presented thru the columns of The Booklet. 

Among the staunch and brave patriots who were mortally 
wounded at the Battle of Guilford Court House was Colonel 
Arthur Forbis. In that same engagement, under his com- 
mand, was his brother-in-law, Thomas Wiley, also a brave, 
unwavering Whig, who was wounded. Possessing similar 
loyalty to the patriotic cause, Elizabeth Forbis, nee Wiley T 
wife of Colonel Forbis, bore with fortitude and patience her 
severe and continued trials and sufferings. Coming from 
such stock, it is no marvel that she displayed unusual traits 
of character, of which the following is illustrative. 

Several days after the Battle of Guilford Court House 
Thomas Morgan, who lived a mile and a half west of the 
Forbis home, found wandering on his premises two horses 
whose "bobbed tails" showed that they were the property of 
the British and Tories, since the horses of the American cav- 
alry were distinguished from that of the enemy by having 
long tails. These he felt he had a right to appropriate, for 
the British and Tories had seized all available property of 
the Whigs. 

Mr. Morgan, knowing that Mrs. Forbis was now in dire 
need of a horse and in a destitute condition, presented her 
with one the morning following. Colonel Forbis was either 
dead or dying of his wounds ; the Tories had cleared the plan- 
tation of almost all cattle, provisions, grain, etc. ; her eldest 
boy was a mere lad of thirteen or fourteen years and could 
only plough a gentle animal, her sole means of making a crop. 
This gift she accepted thankfully and immediately put her 
son to the plough handle. However, on the next day as he 
was turning furrows in a corn field and the mother was drop- 
ping corn after the plough and covering it with a hoe, two 


young men appeared on the scene and demanded the return 
of the horse then in the plough, one claiming it was his own. 
Mrs. Forbis did not dream the men were from the British 
Army, then thirty or forty miles south of that locality on the 
way to Wilmington. With this demand she flatly refused to 
comply. It was repeated two or three times, she still refus- 
ing to obey, when he ordered the lad to take the horse from 
the plough. She forbade her son to do so, he standing reso- 
lute, looking from her to the enemy, respecting the one and 
fearing the other, but obeying the mother. Thereupon the 
man stepped forward to unfasten the traces himself, and 
instantly she sprang in front of him, with a hoe raised high 
above her head, and with a firm expression and determined 
manner, declared that if he touched the horse "she would 
split his head with the hoe." This act produced the desired 
effect — the horse remained in her plough and was never mo- 
lested again. 

Mrs. Forbis lived to enjoy the independence of her country 
many years, attaining an honorable old age, noted for her 
cheerful disposition and as a warm-hearted Christian char- 

Of Colonel Forbis' sister and near neighbor, Mrs. Mary 
Morgan, wife of Thomas Morgan, this daring feat is related : 

At the time the British Army was encamped on the south 
side of South Buffalo Creek, the same side on which Thomas 
Morgan lived, on the plantation of Ralph Gorrell, Esq., and 
from this camp one day a party sallied forth bent on plunder, 
taking in Colonel Paisley's plantation and later the Morgan 
home, in the absence of the owner, only Mrs. Morgan and her 
little brood being present. As the place had frequently 
experienced visitations of marauding soldiers but little could 
be found. Still they ransacked the dwelling from cellar to 
garret, as well as the kitchen and smoke-house, corn-crib and 
barn, leaving naught in their wake. In the interval Mrs. 
Morgan's active mind was at work and the thought occurred 
to her to retaliate by removing the valise from the saddle of 


the commanding officer and dropping it in an inside corner 
of the fence among the tall weeds, a few panels below the 
horse from which it was taken. As they prepared to leave 
the sun had nearly reached the horizon, and five or six miles 
lay between them and their camp, there was considerable 
hurry and confusion which caused the officer in command to 
overlook the loss of his valise. On opening it, Mrs. Morgan 
found it to be filled with fine linen shirts, collars, cravats, and 
other articles which in value far exceeded that which she had 

The true Irish wit displayed by Mrs. Rachel Denny has 
amused many a listener. She was the wife of Walter Denny, 
a strict elderly Scotch-Irish Presbyterian, who dwelt far 
down on North Buffalo Creek, as staunch in his Whig princi- 
ples as true to his religious faith and highly esteemed thru- 
out the neighborhood. During his absence from home when 
the British Army was near by, a foraging party under com- 
mand of the proper officer invaded his home, pillaging every 
repository of his possession. During this trying ordeal the 
old lady, his wife, sat by utterly helpless in the presence of the 
commanding officer, who sat near amusing himself with her. 
Thus she saw flour, meat and meal as well as blankets she 
had made with her own hands seized by ruthless hands. The 
officer began by asking her where her husband was, to which 
she replied she did not know. If she did know would she 
tell, was the next question. Kindly she said "No, and no 
gentleman of honorable feelings would ever ask or expect 
such a thing." When asked if she was not afraid that he 
would be caught and hung as a rebel, she replied, "as he was 
engaged in a good cause, he was in good hands, and she hoped 
he would be protected." After cursing her most profanely 
he informed her he thought "the women in that part of the 
country as damned rebels as the men, and that one-half of 
them, at least, ought to be shot or hung." To all this she 
did not reply. 

Spying a Bible and a hymn-book on the table, he exclaimed 


that he presumed "the old man prayed every day in his 
family." To this Mrs. Denny added that when at home 
they usually had family prayers. "Well, does he ever pray 
for King George ?" followed in a sneering, haughty air. She 
gave an indirect answer. He then told her emphatically she 
must tell him "He must pray for King George." Very indif- 
ferently she replied that perhaps a good man might pray for 
the salvation of his soul, "not for the success of his arms ; 
for he had sinned so long and so much that there was very 
little encouragement to pray even for his salvation., and to 
pray for the success of his arms when they were employed to 
oppress and to enforce obedience to unrighteous authority, 
would be praying in direct opposition to the instructions of 
the Bible, which would be offensive to God as it would be 
useless to man." Whereupon the officer told her that her 
husband must pray for the king or be treated as a rebel. 
"Ah, indeed," said Mrs. Denny, "he has been denounced as 
a rebel long ago, and no thanks to you nor King George either 
that he still lives to defend his country." "Well," he re- 
plied, "do you tell him that he must pray for King George 
tonight, for I intend to come or send men to ascertain, and 
if he does not, I will have him taken and hung up to the limb 
of that oak tree in the yard." "Aye, fa'th," retorted the 
brave old dame, with consummate nonchalance, "Aye, fa'th, 
an' monny a prayer has been wasted upon King George." 

The young Lieutenant, baffled, summoned his men as the 
sun was fast sinking in the west and quickly galloped back to 
camp, taking with them considerable plunder, but by no 
means all of Mr. Denny's' abundance. 

During the stormy days of the Revolution the women were 
just as willing as the men to suffer and share privations with 
them. The country being thinly settled, they were much 
isolated and had to face innumerable perils. Frequently the 
quick wit and ready, proper word of some intelligent woman 
achieved a decided triumph. To this class could be assigned 
Mrs. Sarah Logan, noted for her repartee, excellent sense and 


kindness of heart, and who was universally esteemed. She 
was a native of North Carolina, though after her marriage 
she lived in South Carolina, near the dividing line. Many 
incidents occurred that testified to her patriotism, judgment, 
character and ready wit. This one related here in particular 
is illustrative of her varied experiences. 

One morning in November when the air was cold and 
frosty four or five Tories swooped down upon her home in the 
absence of her husband. They were known to her by sight 
and name, though they were not of her class. She spied 
them as soon as they entered the lane and at once guessed 
their purpose. She instantly resolved to devise some scheme 
by which to safeguard her property against their pillage. 

They rode up and hitched their horses to the fence within 
a few feet of the house and entered without ceremony. Mrs. 
Logan feigned a cordial welcome and invited them to be 
seated, adding that such cold weather, after a long ride, they 
must be cold and insisted on their sitting nearer the fire, on 
which she had more wood piled. She inquired of the health 
of their families, of the neighborhood ; in fact, received these 
avowed enemies bent on pillage as graciously as though they 
were friends. She apologized for the upturned state of her 
house, claiming that her duties of housecleaning had been 
neglected for a sick child and was just so engaged as they 
approached, that if they would excuse her giving annoyance 
she would proceed and finish in two or three minutes. She 
swept vigorously, raising a cloud of dust. She next began 
making up the bed, beating the feathers and seizing sheets and 
bedspread and blankets, taking each at a time, she stood on 
the door-step and shook them violently, making a great noise 
and flutter as each spread out on the breeze. The horses 
became alarmed, one broke loose, then another, until all sev- 
ered their bridles and galloped in every direction. The 
Tories, realizing that their steeds were more valuable th<sn any 
plunder to be procured at the Logans', took to their heels in 
hot pursuit, catching, as they bolted, Mrs. Logan's regrets — 


"very sorry" — "what a pity." Thus kindness proved of more 
service than the sword or a sharp retort. 

There lived in Surry County, near Mount Airy, during 
the "Old War" (as the old people termed the Revolution) 
Mrs Eliabeth McGraw. She was prior to her marriage to 
Jacob McGraw a Miss Waller, daughter of George Waller of 
Henry County, Virginia. Both she and her husband were 
staunch Whigs; therefore their home was naturally an objec- 
tive point with the bands of Tories scouring that section. 
Still an account of one raid is handed down in that locality. 
It occurred on a bitterly cold night when Jacob McGraw 
was away from home and his wife was the sole white person 
on the place. When she ascertained they were approaching 
she made all the negroes who could leave run and seek some 
hiding place, and in the meantime she engaged busily in 
wrapping the pickaninnies in the tow that had been hackled 
from flax that day, dressed and secreted them in a closet, just 
finishing as the Tories burst into the house. They searched 
the place from top to bottom, but, strange to say, missed locat- 
ing the little negroes concealed in the tow. They appro- 
priated all valuables and lastly took from the cupboard Mrs. 
McGraw's shining pewter plates. Thru the rims of each 
they bored holes and ran a hickory withe which they carried 
along with them. Years after Mrs. McGraw had the pecu- 
liar experience of taking dinner at a neighbor's when the 
meal was served from her own pewter plates with holes in the 
rims. She attained a great age, dying near Mount Airy in 

Even amid the horrors of war people can and do relax 
from their responsibilities and sufferings long enough to 
engage in diverting festivities, better perhaps for the change. 
During Major Craig's occupancy of Wilmington he and his 
officers attended many balls and other entertainments. Tra- 
dition still keeps alive in New Hanover amusing things that 
took place at these social affairs. One anecdote, though ludi- 
crous, that has not been lost, concerned Miss Ann Fergus, a 


lass of a wealthy Scotch family of fine social standing. She 
possessed a superior intellect, was well educated. Exceed- 
ingly tall — five feet ten inches — but when wearing the high 
heel slippers of that period, as she would have done at a ball, 
she must have measured fully six feet. One of her brothers 
was in the Patriot Army, possibly also a lover. One evening- 
she attended a ball at which a number of British officers were 
present. Among them was an exceedingly diminutive man, 
full of conceit, who was most persistent in his attentions to 
the American ladies, being both impertinent and presumptu- 
ous, as his conduct to Miss Fergus proved. During the even- 
ing he sought her out and asked for a kiss. With all serious- 
ness and perhaps hauteur she replied "Yes, he might have 
one, if he could take one without getting upon a stool." 
Whereupon he tiptoed and stretched his neck and she drew 
herself up to her full height, and he "couldn't come it." The 
whole company present were intensely amused at so ludicrous 
a spectacle. Ridicule caused his instant flight as well as 
brought to an end his attentions to American belles. 

It is not often that a woman possesses such spirit of daring 
and bravery that she is willing to attack an enemy of the 
other sex, assuming the role of aggressor. Of such type was 
Mrs. Margaret (Gillespie) Caruthers, a native of Lancaster 
County, Pennsylvania, who settled with her husband, James 
Caruthers, in middle North Carolina some time prior to the 
Revolution. Her family included four sons and several 
daughters, all eventually becoming useful citizens and church 
members. Three of her sons served in the Revolution. The 
eldest, Robert, being a partisan leader, won the rank of cap- 
tain and was very active, being almost always on duty. The 
youngest, who was retained at home to protect his parents 
and attend to the farm, met death at the hands of Tories dis- 
guised as Indians, as strong circumstantial evidence proved. 
His dead body was found by a creek on the plantation almost 
in sight of the house. He had gone to a neighbor's, two miles 
distant on an errand. The report of a gun drew his mother 


and sisters to the spot to find, him dead; scalped with a bloody 
knife bearing the name of a neighbor, lying near his head. 
Ever after when the said neighbor met a member of the 
family his countenance expressed guilt and he manifestly 
shunned them. Thus deprived of her main support, with her 
husband, not infirm but passed the draftable age, compelled 
for safety to conceal himself, she found herself unprotected, 
especially during the trying year of 1780. Her wonderful 
self-possession never failed her in time of danger. Her 
firmness and energy of character, combined with the "spirit 
of '76," rendered her far from helpless in emergencies. 

Not long after the tragedy just recounted, two Tories, 
neighbors, came to plunder her premises. They at once at- 
tempted to steal a fine young black mare, of unusual beauty 
and splendid qualities, which they brought out and hitched to 
a shade tree on the west side of the house." After packing up 
all provisions, blankets, etc., to be found in the house they 
entered the corn-crib to fill their bags with corn. The quaint 
form of crib of that day had an opening thru which a man 
must thrust one leg, next his head "and with his body laid 
beside the projecting leg force himself thru, with the other 
leg resting on the floor, and, at the same time, as it was 
raised a foot or two above the ground, held by the side with 
the left hand lest when the center of gravity passed the sill, 
he might go faster and further than he wanted." The thieves 
were busy over their grain when Mrs. Caruthers hid the black 
mare in the cellar, locking the door. Then she took a stick 
of hickory, intended for an axe-handle, laid by to season in 
the chimney corner, twice the size of a dressed article, which 
she concealed under her apron and stood at the corner of the 
crib. As each appeared she beat upon him so successfully 
that he could neither defend himself nor return the blows, 
and both fled in haste, leaving their plunder behind and never 
again did they dare to enter the Caruthers home. 

The name of Betsy Dowdy is universally known and her 
bravery can never be forgotten, while the name of Margaret 


McBride is familiar to comparatively few and of the service 
rendered her country little is known. As her surname im- 
plies she was of a Scotch-Irish family. Hanty McBride, a 
resident of Guilford, was a man of good standing in the neigh- 
borhood where he lived and died, some seven or eight miles 
south of Greensboro, midway between Alamance and Buffalo 
creeks. He was a member of Dr. Caldwell's congregation, 
and a true Whig. Too old for military duty, he served his 
country when possible. His large family was comprised of 
nearly all daughters. Of one son, Isaiah, the oldest, we 
learn that he was in several campaigns. 

In 1781 Margaret, or Maggie, as her family and neigh- 
bors called her, was a pretty lass of thirteen or fourteen sum- 
mers and well grown for her years. She was full of life, but 
discreet and had the courage to express her convictions. 
With winsome ways and abounding enthusiasm, she was nat- 
urally a favorite. She gloried in being a Whig and hated 
the Tories. A certain tract of land four or five miles wide, 
ten or twelve in length, between North and South Buffalo 
creeks, lay to the north and northwest of Hantz McBride's. 
This included the present site of Greensboro and ran along 
both sides of the Hillsboro road to Buffalo Bridge. This was 
not inhabited and was traversed only by roads connecting the 
two settlements. As pine was the principal growth it was 
called the "Pine Woods," or ''Pine Barrens." People did 
not settle there because the land was considered too thin. It 
afforded fine pasturage for cattle. At intervals rich and well- 
watered glades existed like oases of the desert. In the first 
days of autumn, 1781, a band of Tories from southern Guil- 
ford or northern Randolph pitched camp in one of these fairy 
dells. The Whigs were thick on the outskirts of the "Bar- 
rens" and some were wavering. These the Tories in question 
visited, and exerted no good influence over them. The true Pa- 
triots became uneasy — something must be done, and accord- 
ingly a band bent on retaliation was organized, though none 
knew the exact location of the camp. It was thought that the 


McBrides knew of it if any one did, so to that home they 
repaired one evening just after dark. Hantz McBride, of 
course, was absent, the mother, Maggie and other children 
were there. The captain, after ascertaining they were 
staunch Whigs, inquired whether there was a Tory camp in 
the "Piney Woods." She understood there was. When 
asked for directions to find it, she answered as intelligently 
and as best she could, little Maggie by her side now then 
adding a word of explanation. The captain observed her 
interest and said courteously, "Well, now, my little Miss, 
could you go along to show us the way ?" This startled her. 
Objections she urged — going off with a party of soldiers, all 
strangers ; then the fighting, etc. The captain insisted. She 
reckoned she might go; they must promise not to fire on the 
Tories till she left them. They consented, so she mounted 
behind the commander and they rode off at full speed. It 
was agreed that she should remain with the band until they 
came in sight of the place, when she was to fly back home, it 
being impossible for her to be taken into the battle in the 
darkness. She was firm in her determination to render this 
invaluable service to the Whigs, and never faltered when so 
much was at stake. The spot was familiar to her as she had 
frequently been there when hunting the cows on summer 
evenings with the other children. 

As they approached the camp near enough for the sound of 
the horses' feet to be heard, they proceeded with great caution 
and Margaret McBride was straining her eyes and craning 
her neck to ascertain the exact spot. Finally she exclaimed, 
"Yonder they are," and sprang from the captain's horse, 
returning home with the agility of a native of the forest. 
As soon as she alighted on the ground the party dashed for- 
ward at a gallop, took the camp by surprise, firing a good 
volley as a greeting on approach. Before the brave little 
heroine had passed over much ground, she heard the report 
of twenty or thirty pistols and the clash of sabres, with 
shouts of victory and cries of the assailed, all of which made 


her run but the faster. On reaching home she proudly in- 
formed her mother that "those miserable Tories have got a 
lesson tonight which they will not soon forget, and I hope 
they will no longer be a pest and a reproach to the country." 
"Why, my daughter," replied Mrs. McBride, "You didn't 
stay to see what was done ?" "Why, mother, as soon as we 
came in sight, I jumped clown and started back as hard as I 
could, but I had come a very little distance — it didn't seem 
to be a minute — till I heard ever so many guns, and then such 
slashing and hallooing — you never heard the like. I just 
know the ugly things are used up, and we shall now be clear 
of them. Well, I do feel sorry for them after all — really 
sorry. Just think how they will be cut up and run off like as 
many sheep-killing dogs ; but then they had no business to be 
Tories. If they are so mean and pusillanimous that they 
want to be slaves or foot-pads to King George, let them not 
stay here and try to make us as degraded as themselves, but 
go to his own country and serve him there. We have no use 
for them here and I am so glad they are gone." 

The Tory den was completely broken up. All that were 
not killed fled, and henceforth the "Pine Barrens" of Guil- 
ford knew neither them nor their like again. 

When Margaret McBride grew to womanhood a few years 
later she married and, with her husband, moved westward 
with the tide of emigration that laid the foundation of some 
of our great States of today, and nothing was known of this 
brave heroine of old Guilford. 

North Carolina can well be proud of her women from the 
earliest days when the hardships and perils of life led by the 
first settlers in the wilderness were patiently borne, during 
the stormy times of the Revolution, of the War between the 
States and, lastly, of the response they are giving to the 
demands of this present-day world conflict. 

H. STEINMETZ, Florist 


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